5 Questions You Must Answer To Build Financial Intimacy in Your Marriage

BY: - 26 Jun '13 | Money

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Marriage is not only an emotional commitment, but it is also a financial one. When you decide to share your life with another person, you implicitly agree to share in collective expenses, liabilities, and windfalls.

Whether you are recently married, recently engaged, or are a seasoned married couple, make sure that your shared financial goals will safeguard your family’s fiscal peace of mind and sanctity.

Here are five questions to consider when embarking on building a strong financial foundation and creating lasting financial intimacy.

1.How compatible are our money mindsets? Without knowing it, we each enter into relationships with a set of beliefs about money, spending, debt, and wealth. We also attribute certain values to money such as freedom, power, self-worth, control, and status. While there is nuance and complexity when it comes to pinpointing a financial identity, most of us tend to be either spenders or savers.

Be sure to ask your partner about their spending habits and their family’s most salient money messages so you can gain some insight into how their childhood experiences influenced their adult financial proclivities.

It is important that you complete this exercise as well to uncover the why behind your financial habits and beliefs, too. Sharing these thoughts will shed some light into shared or disparate fears, goals, and hang-ups when it comes money management and financial goals.

2. How often should we talk about money?  Behind sex, money is probably one of the most taboo topics to talk about. I am no psychologist, but I think money helps us express our deepest desires and wants making us become very protective of our money and weary of judgment from those that can hurt us the most (i.e. our partner). Overcoming this issue can only happen when you talk about money and what you want to do with it regularly and honestly.  

Begin by scheduling short monthly meetings with your partner to discuss not only your family’s yearly savings goals, upcoming costs (i.e. vacations, surgeries, college tuition), challenges, but also how much each partner will have to spend without guilt, approval, or consensus. (Translation: if s/he wants to blow his/her weekly or monthly money personal budget on tickets to the movies, Philly Cheese Steaks, Pop Tarts, then so be it, as long as total cost does not exceed the limit of the allocation.)

In the event that monthly meetings are not sufficient, adjust the meeting times to meet your needs. Throughout the course of your partnership, you will encounter a number of financial realities—lay-offs, deaths, births, windfalls, raises, and retirement. It is important that the frequency of your meetings responds to these realities and remains meaningful and action-oriented. Also, make sure  your discussions allow you to brainstorm ways that will allow you to use some of your hard-earned money to experience pleasure and fun.

3.How should we celebrate our financial progress? When a couples reaches a particular milestone whether it be a paid-off credit card, a pay increase, or a down-payment on a home—celebrate the financial progress in low-cost ways: a dinner, a little champagne, or a high five for a job well done.

 4. How should we handle paying bills? A lot of financial pundits will tell you that it is a must to open a joint savings and checking account when you first get married. I would have to disagree. I think each couple should experiment and test out what works best for them. If that means that each partner maintains the savings and checking accounts that they brought into the marriage and gradually works toward establishing a shared set of accounts or divide bills evenly or by percentage of income, that is fine. What is most important is that you communicate and figure out what is best for you.

5. Is it smart to invest in a financial counselor? Investing in the strength and longevity of your marriage should happen before you decide to wed. Having a third-party facilitate hard conversations around gender roles and money, communication styles, and planning for the financial unknown provides couples with positive models to emulate. If you have not had the chance to invest in a financial counselor before marriage, you still have time.  After you say the “I do’s,”make your first gift to yourselves a financial counselor or financial planner.

Marriage is a beautiful and wonderful journey. It is also serious and not to be taken lightly. Ensure the longevity and health of your marriage by taking all of the necessary steps to build a strong financial foundation.

BMWK – have you and your spouse discussed each other’s financial identities? What are some additional money related topics that married couples need to discuss?

About the author

Kara Stevens wrote 138 articles on this blog.

Kara is a motivational speaker, life coach, and founder of the personal finance and lifestyle blog The Frugal Feminista .

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Being a Stay at Home Mom: Is it the Right Choice?

BY: - 28 Jun '13 | Money

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Lately I have been having an internal struggle, and I just can’t seem to reach a conclusion yet.  I have been thinking about my full-time job, looking at this life I am trying to build as a writer and entrepreneur, and have been mulling over our monthly expenses – all in an attempt to figure out if I should continue working outside of the home or stay at home with my kids.  Any mom who’s ever had this struggle knows exactly what I am dealing with.  It is not easy.

When I have this discussion I am very careful about my word choice, because there is something I think most people get confused about.  I don’t refer to moms working outside of the home as “working moms” because I can tell you from personal experience that it is all work – no matter how you slice it.  When my son was born I stayed at home with him for a year and a half.  It was tough.  When I went back to work, it was still tough.  It was just different.

I think one of things that I have realized while I struggle to make this decision is how guilty moms tend to feel about things – about everything. Yet, there really is no need for guilt.  If you know what lies in your heart, and it’s nothing but love for your kids, the guilt needs to step aside and give you room to thrive as a mom and a woman.

Do you work a demanding job and you love it?

Do you stay at home with your kids and have days where you just can’t take them anymore? 

Are you a little excited (maybe even a lot) if you have to take a business trip because you get to sleep in a hotel bed alone and wake up when you want to?

Do you have days when you yell at your kids because, quite frankly, you feel like crap and you just aren’t in a good place?

Do you feel like you need the fulfillment of a career to be a great mom?

Do you have no desire to work outside of the home or even from home, because raising your kids provides enough fulfillment?

Do you home school your children and you love it?

Does the thought of homeschooling seem unappealing, and you’d rather send your kids to school?

Do you work just for the paycheck, but your hate your job?

Listen, if any of these things ring true for you, let me assure you that none of it determines if you are a good or bad mom. What determines that is whether or not your choices are truly in the best interest of your children and your family.  If doing things a certain way gives you a level of fulfillment that ultimately makes you a better mom, go for it.  Because, at the end of the day, if you are unhappy and unfulfilled, you really won’t be much good to your kids.  They will sense your sadness, even if you never say a word about it.  It really is okay to think about your own needs, too, because doing that doesn’t just benefit you – it benefits your kids.

I am hoping to figure out what’s right for my family in the next few months. As I move towards a decision that works best for us, I know one thing for sure.  I won’t let anyone make me feel guilty about what I decide to do.  I love writing, I love being an entrepreneur, and I love the professional fulfillment that comes with it.  I just need to figure out how to balance it all.  But trust me when I say that my kids know, without a doubt, that I love them deeply and that loves always drives my decision-making.

BMWK Family, How did your family determine what was right for you and your kids?  

About the author

Martine Foreman wrote 438 articles on this blog.

Martine Foreman is a lifestyle consultant who specializes in helping moms who want more out of life but feel overwhelmed and confused. Through her content and services, Martine is committed to helping women embrace their personal truth, gain clarity, and take action to create lives they love. For more on Martine's candid views on life and love, visit her at candidbelle.com. Martine resides in Maryland with her husband, two kids and sassy cat Pepper.

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