It’s income tax season. Stressful time for many households. It often sparks arguments over money. If only money was not a problem in marriage.
We fantasize how great things will be in our marriage and family if we
- won the lotto
- get the huge promotion
- somehow struck it rich
Is the solution to your financial challenges simply more money? Or how you deal with it as a couple? Many assume more money means less stress and fewer arguments. If only it were that simple.
Here’s the deal.
Statistics on people who win the lotto:
- About 70 percent of people who suddenly receive a windfall of cash will lose it within a few years, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.
- Marriages and families are often destroyed.
Statistics on American debt in 2016:
- Average credit card debt for American households who carry debt is $16,048.00 at an average interest rate of 16.1%
- At a minimum payment of 1.5% it would take 14 years to pay off the debt, totalling $40,200.00 of combined balance and interest payments.
How Money Can Mess Up Your Marriage
Money is not good or bad. It is neutral. Our relationship with money can make your marriage work well or it can mess it up !
Consider what the Bible has to say about the topic of money:
- 500 verses on prayer
- fewer than 500 verses on faith
- more than 2,000 verses on money.
- 15 percent of everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money
- “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
Having a family is a significant financial investment.
- Average cost to raise a child from birth to 18 years old is $300,000.00
How couples communicate about money will determine if it’s manageable or a mess. Let’s look at 3 pitfalls to avoid that can mess up your marriage.
The problem may lay with one or both spouses. Some families spend more than they earn – living beyond their means. Before long, high balances are reached on one or multiple credit cards.
Couples who lack of rules about spending or no clearly defined budget are at risk for problems. Not just financially, but also in the relationship. Arguments erupt over spending habits, large purchases that were not discussed, or late notices.
Before long, retirement plans are in jeopardy, as couples are forced to dip into IRAs.
Some couples assume they will meet financial expectations eventually. This is referred to as “magical thinking” getting results without a plan, according to Forbes.
Deception or Betrayal
Some marriages are wrecked when one partner is lying to the other about their handling of finances. Lies may include income, spending, credit card debt. Individuals with spending or gambling addictions can rack up enormous debt under the radar.
Intentional non-disclosure of debts, risk investment loss, or other activity that threatens the financial security of the family is a form of betrayal that damages trust in marriage.
No Unified Approach
Here are a few of the problems that occur when couples do not have a unified approach to money matters.
- Arguments over the differences in attitudes and approach to finances.
- One carries the full weight of management.
- Power struggles over spending.
- Financial health is at risk.
Potential risks of not dealing with the mess
- Digging deeper into debt.
- Poor credit rating, higher interest rates
- Potential loss of valuables: home, car, dreams of future, etc…
- Effect on health
- High risk of divorce
7 Things you can do to get out of the mess
#1: It starts with good communication
If you’re starting out, begin an ongoing conversation about your values, attitudes, and habits around money. The goal is to understand each other and come to compromise.
If you are in the pit you have to stop arguing or pointing fingers. Agree you have to come together and mutually work at finding and following a plan.