As previously discussed on this blog, one of the primary causes of divorce in the United States is the inability of couples to effectively communicate with one another or reach an agreement on financial matters.
The current state of the economy – the tumultuous real estate market, widespread unemployment, etc. – is likely not helping matters much, creating additional financial worries/concerns for already stressed married couples.
Fortunately, there are steps that couples can take to not only create greater financial stability, but also to help ensure that their marriage is not jeopardized by arguments over money.
According to financial experts, frequent and timely communication is the key.
Rather than addressing money issues as they arise one at a time – talking about a bill when you’re sitting down to dinner or bringing up the credit card balance while getting ready for bed – set aside a recurring time to go over all of your finances.
“There’s usually a family CFO, but I think it’s important for both people to sit down once a month [and have] a one-hour date night, a money date,” said David Bach, author of the marital finances book “Smart Couples Finish Rich.”
Bach also recommends that in addition to these “money dates,” couples also have a “financial anniversary date,” in which they review the finances from the last year and discuss strategies for the upcoming year.
Yet another strategy recommended by financial experts is not just limiting your discussions to more prosaic money issues (i.e., bills and other debt obligations), meaning be certain to set aside time to talk about your financial plans for the future.
“Money’s been such a taboo topic to talk about for years,” said Carolyn Washburn, a family consumer science agent at Utah State University. However, when couples do finally take the time to discuss their financial goals for the future, “it strengthens their relationship.”
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s balance the checkbook (The Christian Science Monitor)