Couples! Building Honesty, Unity and Trust are essential in the area of personal finances. I have received overwhelming requests, to write about married couples and money. While this is a very tough subject for many couples to discuss; it is extremely necessary to get in the ring with the opponents that causes money fights and aim for a knock out. The areas that I will cover, may be causing deep pain in your marriage and could become a little uncomfortable to read. However, it’s time to confront and wake up the sleeping giant, sending him on his way.
According to a 2009 study by Jeffrey Dew at the Utah State University; couples who “disagree about finances once a week” are over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples that report “disagreeing about finances a few times a month.”
According to Dew, couples who (DivorceResource.com, 2016) disagree about money less than once per month run a 30 to 40 percent increase in the risk of divorce. This rate increases steeply when the partners fight several times per month, once a week, several times a week, to almost daily, when the risk increases to 125 percent to 160 percent. These stats are based on the responses from 2800 couples surveyed. Among other arguments were chores, in-laws, spending time together, sex and money – “money disputes were the best harbinger of divorce.”
What would happen if more married couples decided to have candid conversations about money? Some experts say that 50% of marriages end in divorce. However, I found Dew’s statistics to be more realistic.
Let’s talk about a few financial decisions that leads to money fights: separate bank accounts, undisclosed investments with someone other than your spouse of the opposite sex, overspending, not paying bills on time that could cause foreclosures, shut off notices and repossession(s) to occur. Some spouses do not have ready access to the state of the family finances; in other words, they are not privy to bank account balances or the kinds of liabilities that they are both responsible for. If you both were honest; these are signs of distrust, deception, division, disloyalty and disrespect relating to your finances. Eliminate the five “D’s” from your relationships and build a “H.U.T.” (Honesty, Unity, Trust).
1) Distrust – Once you have broken trust in your marriage, it is difficult to regain your spouse’s trust right away; it must be earned. Forgive, be patient and avoid discounting your spouses pain. Be cautious with the money choices that you make. Secretly making bad choices is similar to hurling cruel words that cannot be retrieved once they have been spoken.
2) Division – Avoid becoming literally divided in your relationship and dividing your money if possible. For example, some couples keep their earnings in separate accounts and have assigned bills to pay versus having a designated account for all bills to be paid out of. If separate accounts works for you, then continue with what works. Either way, my suggestion is to ensure that your spouse is joint on all accounts, so that he or she can gain access to the funds in case of dire emergencies (i.e. just in case you are incapacitated or pass away).
3) Disrespect – Please avoid disrespecting your marriage by engaging in investments with the opposite sex that your spouse is not aware of. This can cause division and possibly lead to deep hurt and pain; over money and possibly divorce. Share your investment strategies with your spouse, even if you don’t feel that he or she understand the details of it.
4) Disloyalty – You are both on the same team. Avoid involving others outside of your relationship more access to your finances than your spouse. Your loyalty should be to your spouse. To do anything else could mean that there are serious trust issues over money. Seek professional help.
5) Deception – Lack of trustworthiness and an act of disloyalty is deceitful and could drive you both off the deep end to divorce over money fights.
Couples, please build a “H.U.T.”! Be honest with one another no matter how difficulty your financial situation becomes. Nobody is perfect! Work through it and avoid making your spouse or domestic partner feel guilty; it takes two to tango. You are on the same team. Bring unity in the mix; work together towards your financial wellness. Honesty and unity invites in and builds trust. Couples, understanding your spouse and finances takes WORK! Don’t be so quick to jump ship when your financial wheels roll off the wagon. Dig in and see it through.
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