by Dr. Taffy Wagner
The list goes on and on. Favors, floral arrangements, bridal bouquet, groom’s cake, wedding cake, apartment, houses, cars, car insurance, life insurance and even retirement planning. Whether you are engaged, newlywed or married for years, communication about finances is essential for money and marriage success.
(Remember: arguing isn’t communicating. Say that to yourself three times.)
Engaged couples fall into the trap of money talk being about the wedding and not preparation for the marriage. Here’s a tip: Couples can actually gain insight into each other’s financial behavior if they closely watch what brings up the financial discussion.
First if someone purchases an item not in the budget, both should consider this: Does one person have to get their way or is there a spirit of compromise? If one person is manipulating everything to get their way, it’s not healthy for the relationship.
Second, when money issues come up who just goes with the flow to keep the peace? Avoiding the topic can lead to more problems that are bigger than money. Do not deny what is happening in the relationship. Whether it is spending or one person not paying their bills and mentioning it to the other ““ take the time to learn how to talk WITH each other about money instead of AT one another.
According to a survey by the Association of Bridal Consultants, more than 67% of newlyweds believe the most serious conflict in their first year of marriage is over money.
That wouldn’t be the case if couples were more preventative than reactive, when it comes to financial skeletons in the closet.
Men and women entering into relationships should understand this first and foremost, when you are walking down the aisle to unite ““ you are literally standing saying I have my 20 something years of managing money this way and you have your 20 plus years and now we are going to combine these different styles without talking about it and we’ll live happily ever after.
Take your own survey of people that have been married for many many years. Ask them what are the most important topics when it comes to their union. I bet you nine times out of ten money is in the top five issues. Talking about money during the engagement is only the beginning because once you are married, you will be making choices regarding home purchases, employment, education, parenting, retirement and even dealing with elderly parents and your role. Begin talking about money today for the benefit of your marriage instead of avoiding it because you are afraid.
Communication about money is an ongoing conversation and not a one time chat. Respect and love each other enough to start your marriage on sound money communication footing. Remember: for richer, for poorer.
Dr. Taffy Wagner is a Certified Educator in Personal Finances and Money and Marriage Advocate. Dr. Wagner provides premarital and postmarital financial counseling for couples. You can contact her via her site at www.moneytalkmatters.com.
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