While you read this, I’m celebrating the wedding of my daughter and new son-in-law. As the flowers wilt and echo of the wedding march fades, I pray the newlywed’s love and commitment only strengthen.
Being an experienced financial professional and a concerned parent, I’d like to offer a few tips on how to maintain financial harmony in a marriage.
Marriage isn’t only a joining of lives, but also a financial merger. If differences in money attitudes and practices aren’t addressed early on, people can become set in their ways, making it more difficult to overcome any disagreements. However, where there is love, there are also ways to overcome a financial divide.
Find shared values and purpose
Couples need to come together with a shared vision of their future based on joint values. If they share a mission and purpose, their decisions will have greater clarity and conviction, and it should be easier to maintain financial harmony. Shared goals can provide the motivation to spend/save according to an agreed-upon plan.
Create a plan
At the core of any successful enterprise – be it a business or marriage – is a spending plan. Create budgets and track results together as a couple (read: date night). Don’t forget to broaden your focus and create a line item for an emergency fund, future savings, and charitable donations.
His and her wallets are important
Merging finances can sometimes lead to a power struggle for control. Make sure that you control your money, and it doesn’t control you. While both partners don’t need to balance the checkbook or pay the bills, everyone needs to be happy with the division of labor. While making joint spending/saving decisions is important, not every financial decision needs to be run by your spouse. Allowing some discretion on personal spending can go a long way to relieving the stress of having to account for every shekel. Decide on an amount that each person can spend without having to “check-in” with the other.
Open and honest communication is the key. Remember, money is one of many tools you’ll use to build your life together! Mazal tov!
Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd. www.profile-financial.com. He is a licensed financial professional both in the U.S. and Israel. Call (02) 624-2788 for a consultation on how to set up your American assets to meet your financial goals. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not those of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Neither PRG nor its affiliates give tax or legal advice.
Published March 5, 2020.