Money is one of the top stressors and causes of arguments in marriage. It makes sense - you bring together two people with different (financial) beliefs, desires, habits, and goals, and then expect them to get along peachy? Well, it's definitely possible to obtain a peaceful front regarding money in marriage - but it does take two people who are willing to be respectful, have open minds, and compromise. Let's talk dolla dolla bill, yo!
I want to start with a question: Do you have a Scarcity Mentality or an Abundance Mentality? Here's the difference...
With a Scarcity Mentality, you dwell within a negative place = negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs - all of which, in reality, are just not true. You find yourself saying:
"There's never enough money."
"Money is so hard to make."
"I'll never get out of debt."
"Why is everything soooooo expensive?"
"I haven't worked hard enough or long enough to make a lot of money."
"I'll never get ahead in life."
"I'll never be happy."
"My spouse will never treat me with respect."
"I'll never be able to forgive him."
"This gut sucks, must be old age setting in, too bad there's nothing I can do about it."
"I could never afford that."
"I don't deserve to be wealthy."
"Who am I to charge a lot for my service?"
"I'm not successful."
"I'll never be successful."
Those statements are not true unless you make them true. If you have this Scarcity Mentality with Self-Limiting Beliefs regarding money, you likely have this mentality in all other areas of your life as well. Do you have balance, self control and discipline with spending and finances? Do you plan ahead for your future and retirement? How about balance, self control and discipline in other areas of your life - like exercise, eating, thoughts/emotions/behavior patterns? Financial habits are an excellent barometer for other areas in your life.
Should you feel ashamed of yourself for holding on to a scarcity mentality or self-limiting beliefs? Not at all. So how should you feel?....... Eager -- eager to learn how to change so you can create for yourself and your family an abundant life full of blessings - including financial blessing.
Start with practicing an Abundance Mentality. It's much healthier and full of truth. Your life is what you create it to be - finances included. Replace self-limiting beliefs with Affirming Beliefs:
"I am abundant and will create what I need and desire."
"I will show up everyday as an energetic, grateful, and happy woman/man."
"Money will come when it's needed and desired."
"It is safe to be vulnerable."
"The more value I add to the world, the more money will......
"I am grateful for what I already have and for what is coming."
"Everything is working out for my highest good."
"I have more than what I need."
"I am sensible with money and manage it wisely."
"Life is full of blessings."
"I am confident."
"I open my heart to love." "I am more than enough."
"My thoughts create reality, so I choose only loving thoughts that are going to deeply support and nourish me."
"I am joyful."
Print out the above Affirmations, tape them to your bathroom mirror, and say them out loud as you look into the mirror at yourself -do that every day.
Mindset aside, let's look at the top causes for financial arguments within marriage and what to do to achieve financial health and success.
Top Money Arguments in Marriage:
• joint vs shared bank accounts
• management / budgeting
• keeping secrets about where money goes
• being controlling with your finances and not allowing your spouse to know what your finances are
• financial planning / saving - how to save, how much to save, what to save on, and what to save for
• what to invest in
• who is in charge of finances and/or paying bills (specifically, whose paycheck will go to certain bills)
How to Achieve Financial Health & Success in Marriage:
• financial mission statement
• weekly meeting
• monthly meeting
• quarterly meeting
• annual meeting
• shared passwords and access to all accounts
• set a budget and stick to it
• use the 70/30 Rule
Develop a financial mission statement and plan for your marriage. Decide, based on your income compared to your bills, how much you will allot for spending vs saving each month (after bills, taxes, etc). Create a list of financial goals with specific amounts and dates to reach those goals. Create a list of bucket items. Be sure to make room for future endeavors like family vacations and children's college education, not just your retirement. Create a short and long term plan. Get on the same page as your spouse regarding all areas of finance. You don't have to agree on every little thing, but covering the major components, make compromises, and work together as the team that you're supposed to be.
Meetings: conduct a weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual meeting and treat it like a business meeting. Set a designated day and time, put it on your calendar, meet in public for this meeting if you are prone to blowout fights, discuss nothing other than finances during this meeting, allot a specific amount of time for this meeting, check emotions at the door, and realize you are both on the same team with the (approximately) same goals in mind. For your quarterly and annual meetings, decide if any big changes need to be made.
Share all bank account access with each other, share passwords, and maintain transparency with all finances. This doesn't mean you constantly check each other's accounts, but transparency is necessary for financial health, trust, and success. If you're the type to block your spouse from knowing your finances or your personal checking account, you likely are hiding things and you may be hiding things in other areas of your marriage as well. None of that is upright, just, respectful, or loving. If this is you, rethink this if you're serious about improving your relationship. Complete transparency is necessary for the health and success of your marriage, for finances are all other areas as well.
Set a budget and stick to it. Set a budget in all areas of finances, and then decide the amount each of you is allowed to spend, and never criticize the other for how they spend their pocket money (as long as it's healthy - more on this in a minute).
Use the 70/30 Rule.
The 70/30 Rule says that after you pay your taxes, live on 70% of your after-tax earnings, and then allocate the remaining 30% in equal parts to: Donations (charities, churches, those in need, helping society), Savings (savings account for unplanned emergencies), and Investment (with a Fiduciary, or land/dwellings in real estate, the options are endless). So, spend 70% of your after-tax income on living (necessities and leisure/enjoyment), then 10% on Donations, 10% on Savings, and the last 10% on Investing.
Jim Rohn famously says, "Poor people spend their money and save what’s left. Rich people save their money and spend what’s left."
Now, let me tell you something.... Money is not evil. Many people believe money is evil and causes people to become greedy. False. Money makes a person more of who they already were. If they were greedy to begin with, they will likely become more greedy. If they had generous hearts and were happily helping others before obtaining a lot of money, they will become even more generous. Money, itself, is not a bad thing. It can be used on bad things, but money is not evil. Money can bring a lot of good when used appropriately.
Don't be judgmental. Sometimes your spouse will spend money on things you find necessary, frivolous, or even bad/wrong. When your spouse spends money on something you think is frivolous or wrong, stop and ask yourself if it's really wrong or if you are just passing judgement because you wouldn't spend it that way. Realize that everyone has different wants and needs and it isn't up to you to pass judgement. When you allot an amount of spending-money to each of you weekly or monthly, then allow each other the freedom to spend it according to your own truths - truths being what is in line with your beliefs, your goals, your desires, etc. And don't make your spouse's spending your business. **disclaimer** If your spouse is spending money on pornography, addictions, extramarital affairs, etc, then you have the right and duty to speak up because these behaviors are harmful to self and your marriage (and possibly children), otherwise, keep a zipped lip.
Lastly... Contribute. Always give back to society. Find a charity, church, organization, to donate to each month. Even if you donate a dollar, do so. You'll both feel really great to be able to give back and it will also foster a sense of team work and will improve your connection.
If you're interested in financial planning, want to learn more, and learn how best to reach financial abundance, please check out Tony Robbins' book and a few other products to help you HERE.