First and foremost you must talk about money together. Your money and their money is not always community money. In years gone by there was only one income earner in the household and generally, they controlled the money for the couple and or family. They maintained all the deposits, withdrawals, expenses, spending, savings and investments. For some, however, they just liked earning the money and left the financial chore to the other spouse. It was a system that worked – back then!
But today’s lifestyle and work ethics have altered the course of money and especially money between couples.
• This can be attributed to one earning more than the other.
• One being a little looser with the wallet than the other.
• One requiring material things regardless of cost.
Generally, one or the other is shall we say “the heavy” in the relationship. It truly is hard to have a voice in a relationship if don’t speak up. Of course, this does not mean screaming at the top of your lungs either!
Knowing what each other has in their financial wallet is not a game of “I make more than you do”, or “my bills are more expensive than yours are”. It is a combined effort to understand what each has and by combining resources to see what you can master together rather than by individuals.
But you need to talk about money calmly, collectively, and it may require a compromise of wits and understanding to establish a solid foundation to strengthen your financial relationship as a couple.
Things that should never be done without consulting the other include:
• Spending what is not yours without permission
• Hiding purchases you know you should not have purchased
• Hiding investments that have gone wrong
• Gambling of any sort and yes that does include lottery tickets, sports games, and office pools.
• Borrowing from the “joint account”
• Lending money to family and friends
Many arguments have transpired over the years as to the almighty joint bank account! So what is a joint account – in a nutshell, it is a bank account that allows more than one person to own and manage it regardless of who deposited the money. Everyone named on the account has equal access to the funds.
Joint accounts can lead to mine vs. yours. Mistrust between spouses who do not communicate when funds are withdrawn or why they have been withdrawn. In some relationships, it can be a dominance or a control aspect. If full disclosure has not been established it can become complicated. If the relationship is not secure it can become a tool to hurt each other.
But a joint account if used correctly can be very beneficial to a relationship. It will allow funds to be available for what is required to be paid or maintained. And this is where it becomes important to talk about money as a couple. Knowing what each other needs or wants along with their hopes, dreams, and goals will become a key ingredient to a successful joint account between a couple.
I am a firm believer that all parties should still maintain their individual accounts and that a joint account is nothing more than a place to put those funds which will be equally shared in payment and use.
So let me ask you this:
1. What type of relationship do you and your spouse have with money?
2. Is it a fair, honest, open communication relationship?
3. Are you struggling to have each one of you accountable?
It might be something you will want to journal about so that you get your thoughts in order and start working on a plan to bring a little more openness and communication to your financial relationship with your spouse.