- If both husband and wife work, most couples find it easier to have a joint household account for routine expenses and a separate personal account for each partner. Discuss whether you will both contribute equally to the joint account or if you will each contribute in proportion to your respective incomes.
- Set aside a regular time for discussion of money matters, preferably a day when neither of you has to work. By scheduling regular times for doing this, less time will be necessary and problems can be avoided.
- Discussions will be shorter, calmer and more productive if you discuss facts and figure on paper.
- Avoid blaming each other for financial problems. Rigid attitudes, beliefs or expectations about how you think your spouse “should” act will stifle your financial happiness and progress and cause problems in other areas of your lives as well.
- During your discussions try not to bring up how your parents or friends handle money. It is irrelevant and will make it more difficult for you and your spouse to reach mutually acceptable financial decisions.
- Keep each other regularly informed about all individual assets and debts whether in savings, checking or credit accounts. Avoid surprises, they will often be misinterpreted and cause problems.
- Make sure each of you has individual credit cards in your own name whether they were obtained before or after marriage. Two good individual credit histories are better that one joint history when you apply for a loan. If one of you has a blemished credit record, the other’s clean record can be a great advantage.
- From time to time, look at other ways of managing your money better, particularly if there is a change in job status that has or might lead to a change in income and expenses.
- Divide responsibilities for regular financial tasks as evenly as possible so that neither of you feels you’re shouldering the entire burden.
- Refusing to take an interest in or failing to develop some competency in something as important as financial matters can be just as destructive to a relationship as insisting on complete control in such matters.
- Using money to control your spouse, as emotional blackmail to get your way or to bolster your self-esteem is likely to lead to retaliation either financially or in some aspect of your relationship.
- Make sure that you both discuss and agree about the use of any expected or unexpected windfall. If one spouse receives a windfall of money and makes a decision about its use without the agreement of the other, can seriously damage the trust you have established and harm your entire relationship.
- Involve your children in your family financial discussions and decisions as much as possible. Children usually want to be involved in family financial decisions that affect them, such as plans for a vacation, or whether to buy a new television or a VCR. They find out about them anyway, and are even more frightened and insecure when they see you attempting to hide such problems from them.
- If one of the thinks that your own or your spouse’s spending has gotten out of control, or if one of you has constant or frequent worries about money that you can’t resolve together, seek help immediately from a professional financial counselor.
- Develop some short and long range financial goals to together, and check your progress toward such goals as through the use of a net worth statement.
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