Ask any marriage therapist and they will tell you one of the most common reasons couples have conflict and get divorced is due to financial issues. Now, however, Experian Consumer Services reports that the recessions may have forced many couples to face their financial issues head on.
In a recent survey provided to 1,000 adults, couples reported that following the economic crisis of 2008 they were more likely to discuss their financial issues before agreeing to get married. They also claim they were more likely to keep the discussions going after the marriage. The good news is the discussions and other behaviors which couples learned during the recession continue and may be strengthening marriages.
How have couples avoided fights about money?
Unlike couples who married before the recession, after 2008 couples were more likely to discuss their credit scores, with an estimated “60% of post-recession couples discussing their credit score before getting married, compared to only 35% of pre-recession couples.”
Couples were also more likely to voice their financial goals and the costs of making large purchases with their spouses. In fact, after 2008, many couples said they were more likely to discuss purchases which cost as little as $256 with their spouse prior to purchase. Before the recession these same couples claimed a purchase would have to be as high as $1,000 before they would discuss it with their spouse.
After recession financial discussions happen more frequently
Experts agree strong marriages include frequent conversations about finances. It’s not enough to simply swap credit scores and cross your fingers and hope everything works itself out. Couples need to make sure they have the same financial goals: How much money do you want to save each month? What are your short-term and long-term goals? How much can you spend without approval from your partner?
The good news is couples who are honest about their financial position and can agree on their financial issues before they get married are far more likely to eliminate future fights about money.
So how do you make sure money won’t wreck your relationship?
The first step is to be honest. If you have a low credit score and are unlikely to be able to get credit with a low interest rate, tell your spouse. If you have a high student loan or you missed several payments, tell your spouse.
Next, make sure your spouse knows your credit score. Credit scores can have a significant impact on you and your spouse’s ability to make large purchases. Make sure the two of you understand how your financial goals may be affected by a negative score.
Finally, talk about your finances before things get bad. If you know you cannot pay the bills or you see that you may face financial difficulties, discuss the issue as soon as possible. Also discuss which partner will be responsible for paying the bills and managing the finances. If you have a history of making bad financial decisions, talk to your spouse about how they can help you make better choices in the futures.
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