My husband and I are often asked to speak together on the subject of money and we love doing it. In fact, we are working on a book together about the subject (please pray we get it done soon) – but we get a lot of questions all the time about marriage and money. And don’t think that just because you are not married at this moment that you don’t need to read any further. You should KEEP on reading so you know what questions to ask and how to recognize the red flag of financial warning signs when Mr. Might Be Right comes knocking on your door.
Love and money can be a slippery slope because sometimes you can love the person but hate them financially when they have mountains of debt, they bounce more checks than Steph Curry bounces the basketballs, and they spend more money than there are days in a month. Money can ruin relationships, the lack of it can affect the amount of honey you get at night and can cause a tremendous amount of stress in your life…if you let it.
Now, when I meet with couples about their finances, one of the first things I tell them is this: “I know you love each other. I know you made a decision to be committed to one another, but are you really in sync financially with each other? Are you ONE where your money is concerned? Is there any agreement? Are you UNIFIED in your thinking where money is concerned? Because sometimes when you say “I DO” at the altar, your bank account is saying “I DON’T”.
To be honest, it’s not really about the money, but it’s ALWAYS about the mindset. So many people get married without ever spending the time necessary to ask the questions about what their spouse BELIEVES where money is concerned. I have yet to meet a couple and someone says “It was love at first sight. I fell in love with him or her the moment I read his (or her) FICO score”… Now, I believe that couples should be emotionally and physically intimate, but I also believe that they should be financially intimate also. A lasting relationship requires financial intimacy. A huge part of Rob and I growing in the same direction had to do with our transparency where money is concerned.
There are many factors that add to the national divorce rate being so high and of the 50% divorce rate that exists, for years statistics show the number one cause of divorce is financial incompatibility. If you aren’t in sync financially, it stresses the relationship. I mean….what do you do when your Cupid can’t count?
I am not talking about if you both make the same amount of money or you both have the same credit score. Financial intimacy is when you understand that you BOTH have different money blueprints, and financial personalities and you work together on designing a shared approach to spending, saving, investing and making your money grow. And how good you are at doing this is a clear sign of how much you truly love, respect and honor each other.
So while you are basking in red roses, chocolate covered strawberries and hopefully some hot, steamy sex – take the time to see how connected you are with your money. Because of no matter if you are in a new relationship or have been married for 5+ years, how financially compatible are you and your partner? How in-sync are you? Get out a piece of paper (both of you) and answer yes or no to the following questions:
1. I never read my credit report to check for bogus charges
2. My closet and drawers are full of expensive things I purchased on impulse and my spouse doesn’t know about it
3. I never sit down to pay my bills on time and I don’t care if it’s late
4. I love buying a new cell phone each year so I can have the newest gadget
5. I want my kids to go to private school even if it means I can’t save money for my retirement
6. I want to buy a luxury car even if I can’t afford it
7. I buy gifts for family and friends or loan money to them even if I can’t afford it
8. I haven’t started contributing to my company’s 401K even though I am eligible for a company match
9. I like to go out to eat often with my friends even if that means I can’t pay my bills
10. I constantly charge stuff to my credit card knowing I don’t have the ability to pay it off in 30 days
11. I don’t like sharing my money with my spouse or the kids. I am selfish with my money
These are only a few but you get the picture. The more questions you and your spouse answer yes to, the more work you have to do in your financial communications and plan to get on one accord. Every penny you spend on indulgences is a penny you don’t have available to pay off debt or invest to make your money grow. You have to be AWARE of your choices if you want different results.
Let this be a conversation starter for you and your spouse. In order for you to have a great financial relationship, you have to have great financial communication and in order to have great communication around money, you MUST CREATE A NO JUDGEMENT ZONE where money is concerned in your house.