“Are we even on the same page?!”
Almost every couple finds themselves asking each other this question from time to time. Pause. Don’t panic. It may be more concerning if a couple doesn’t butt heads over finances every now and then. The Bible warns us about the love of money in 1 Timothy 6:10 by calling it “the root of all evils”. Therefore, we should expect that sharing finances will take a lot of work in order to keep it from causing significant challenges. These seven tips are important for any couple regardless of whether they are planning to get married, newlywed, or have been married for years:
1. Verbalize Feelings or Concerns
Recognizing where there is disconnect and verbalizing it is a challenging yet vital part of getting back on the same page. Doing so opens the conversation and invites opportunities for growth and improvement.
2. Transparency is Important
There are many different ways to manage and structure personal finances. However it is done; make certain there are ways to easily and openly share activity within all financial accounts. This adds accountability, but perhaps more importantly it helps facilitate and guide strong communication.
3. Understand the Pedigree of Money
Each spouse brings to a marriage their own philosophy of money that is a product of their own history. It is likely that each spouse comes from families with very different approaches to money. Take time to talk about and understand even the small nuance differences. Process the implications ahead of time so that it is easy to recognize when the differences are surfacing. Above all, be open to change and accept that having a unified approach to money is always the best bet.
4. Create a Reasonable Space for Free Spending
A lot of turmoil can bubble up when every little purchase needs to be defended or justified. Instead, budget in an ‘allowance’ for each other to spend freely. That way the occasional latte, special lunch out, or round of golf won’t be met with contention so long as it is within the bounds of a well-sized budget.
5. Share Common Goals
Begin with the end in mind. It is very difficult to stick to a budget when a clear purpose for the retained funds isn’t defined and shared between spouses. Is there a debt that should be tackled within a specific timeline? Is there a goal for generosity and tithing this year? Whatever it is, specific and time-bound goals can help couples stay focused and aligned with each other. Regardless of whether the responsibility to manage and track the budget falls to only one spouse, it is important that the decisions are always joint.
6. Celebrate your differences!
Differing views of money can be a good thing. Allow those differences to balance out in beautiful God honoring ways. If one spouse is a hoarder with a tight grip on saving, let the other free that grip with generosity (and maybe a little fun). The spouse spending too frivolously or erratically can be harmonized by the one who is more budget conscious. Let each spouse play to their strengths and own their part of financial accountability. The beauty is in having balance.
7. Be a team
Being united and bound as one in Christ applies to finances, too. It doesn't matter who earns more, who spends more, or whether the checking account is separate or joint. What matters is that, regardless of circumstances, couples not lose sight of the fact that they are in it together.
Of course, there is much more to mastering money and marriage than just keeping these tips in mind. It takes hard work, commitment, resiliency, and forgiveness. It also begins by having a sound financial plan. That’s where we can assist. Wacek Financial Planning thrives in helping couples to honor God through their finances. Let’s meet to talk about how we can help you set up and follow a plan for money in your marriage.
This post originally appeared on Wacek Financial Planning.
About the Author: This post originally appeared on Wacek Financial Planning. Ben Wacek, is a fee-only, Certified Financial Planner™ who has a passion to help people of all income levels make wise financial decisions and steward their resources from an eternal perspective, using Biblical principles. If you’d like to learn more about Ben, you can connect with him on Linkedin