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For Love AND Money

For Love AND Money

We've all heard that most divorces are because of money problems, but the concept of marrying strictly for love is fairly new. For centuries, people have married because of the financial benefits such unions could provide. Now, we're not advocating an arranged marriage to a complete stranger for money, but finding someone with similar financial goals as yourself might be a good idea.

When looking to tie the knot, it's important to understand each other's money situation and whether or not you're financial "soul mates." Sometimes love blinds us to the realities of our differences, but when it comes to money, that's an area we can't afford to be blind in. So, make sure it's a discussion you have BEFORE the wedding.

If you discover that you're not financially compatible, don't panic. Even if you don't see eye-to-eye on all financial issues, there are steps you can take to ensure that your marriage is a happy and prosperous union.

1. Open Communication

Talk about your money and how you like to spend it. See if there are any areas that you match and find out where you can compromise on the areas that you don't. Remember, hiding things from your spouse because he or she will be angry is not open communication. Both parties need to be completely honest to avoid marital troubles down the road.

2. Run Your House Like A Business

Make a budget that is acceptable to you both and stick to it. Keep track of income, debts, and expenses and make any financial decisions together. Treating your household and the income within it like a partnership in a business allows both parties to feel some ownership over it and the results. Even if things go bad for a time, when you share the responsibility, you're able to handle it better.

3. Be Supportive of Careers

If you're successful professionally, that affects your household's bottom line. If you want to succeed as a partnership, then both parties have to be supportive of each other's careers and those occasional late nights. If kids are part of the equation, then discuss what options are best for them, as well as your partnership.

4. Invest In The Marriage

Spend both time and money together to strengthen the marital foundation. Think of it this way, you're making small contributions over time to build a strong and happy life together, just like you do with your retirement funds. If you wait until retirement to invest in the marriage, it's too late.

If all else fails, you can seek a mediator to help you and your partner work out your differences and find common ground. But, if you want a successful marriage, you'll need to find a way to make financial decisions that are best for you both.

What other tips can you offer fellow readers about making marriage and finances go hand in hand? Do you married folks still struggle with this sometimes, or have you found the secret to success? [NY Times]

Posted: 9/15/08

These are great tips. My fiancé and I have talked about our financial goals and fully support each other's careers. We make sure to talk over any big financial decisions, especially when we're trying to plan and save for our upcoming wedding. Talk about big bucks!