The wedding bells have rung for you and your partner, and you are looking at the next steps of your lives together. Whether it’s purchasing your first home, starting a family, or traveling the world, you have now merged your lives. And this merge likely includes your finances too. But what are the keys to a successful marriage especially when it comes to money?
Well, it can be overwhelming to think about merging your finances. For example, merging bank accounts, combining incomes, and even debt. Although it can seem overwhelming, it's important to remember that your partner’s financial success is also your own.
So in this article, we'll discuss what makes a successful marriage but very importantly, what makes a financially successful marriage!
Why building a financially successful marriage is important
Building a financially successful marriage is very important. Money disagreements and financial infidelity are real and can threaten the success of your marriage.
Financial infidelity occurs when couples omit or lie to each other about their financial situation. It is extremely common in relationships and can stem from or lead to money disagreements.
In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by U.S News & World Report, as many as one in three couples deal with financial infidelity. That’s a staggering number of people who may be lying about their income, hiding personal debt from their partners, or borrowing money without their partner’s consent.
Keys to marriage success include financial honesty, faithfulness, and intimacy. So let's get into these tips in more detail!
6 Financial keys for a successful marriage
Every couple wants to have a successful marriage. And below are some keys to a successful marriage that will help your relationship thrive.
1. Openly communicate about finances and money management
One of the most important keys to a successful marriage is communication. It's important to communicate with your partner about your personal finances. You also want to give them a safe space to communicate with you too.
Make time in your marriage to have open discussions about money regularly. Important financial topics you should discuss include everything from personal debt, spending, managing your budget, as well as your long-term financial goals.
Being transparent about your financial situation is a great way to build financial intimacy with your partner. And financial intimacy is one of the most important things in marriage.
Here are a few essential questions to bring to the table when discussing money with your partner:
- How do you plan to tackle each of your personal debts?
- How will you manage your household budget? Does it need to be updated for your lifestyle and goals?
- What are your long-term financial goals separately and together?
- What is your plan to build joint emergency savings?
- Are there any lifestyle changes you need to make to achieve your joint financial goals?
2. Establish financial goals together
Short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals for your finances are great ways to track and measure your financial success. Establish financial goals you can achieve together to create generational wealth.
Your goals could be to become debt-free, save up to buy your first home, or retire early. Having clear financial goals will strengthen your bond.
Plus establishing financial goals together helps you keep each other motivated and focused on the greater good for your family. These things are important keys for a successful marriage.
3. Create a joint budget
With marriage comes the responsibility of planning your day-to-day finances. And this means creating joint budgets to make spending, paying bills, and tackling debt easier for you both.
A joint budget takes your income, personal debt, bills, and other expenses, and combines them. You'll need to decide together how you would like to budget. This could involve using a budgeting tool like a finance app or managing your budget using a spreadsheet.
It is incredibly important to have a budget so you can make sure you stay on track to achieve your joint goals. Most especially if one or both partners are spenders!
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when creating a budget as a couple:
Choose the right budgeting method
One key to a successful marriage is budgeting together. First, decide which budgeting method works best for you and your spouse. There are various budgeting methods you can consider.
Here are a few popular ones to consider:
With a zero-based budget, your joint expenses, including discretionary spending, will never exceed your income. When using a zero-based budget, 100% of your income is accounted for. This helps decrease unnecessary spending and gives every dollar a job to do.
Reverse budgeting method
Another style of budgeting is reverse budgeting. Reverse budgeting focuses on your savings and investments first, then allocates the rest of your money to bills and expenses. This is an ideal budget method if you and your partner are saving for a major goal, like purchasing your first home.
A popular percentage budgeting method is the 70-20-10 budget. In a 70-20-10 budget, your joint income is broken out into three categories: 70% for your bills and spending, 20% for savings and investments, and 10% for debt repayments.
There are many different types of budgets. But it's also essential to choose a method that is easy for your both to stick to.
Decide who will manage the expenses
When creating a budget together, decide who will be responsible for paying bills. This will ensure your bills are paid on time.
You can have a reoccurring discussion with your partner to go over your joint expenses and make sure your budget is up-to-date.
Every marriage and financial situation is different. So find a comfort level when combining your finances into a joint budget. It's all about creating a budget that works for your marriage.
4. Be transparent about your spending
Be transparent with your partner about your spending habits, and let them feel comfortable enough to communicate their habits with you as well.
Do you have a daily Starbucks habit, or find yourself using your credit card a little too much? Be transparent with your partner about how you are spending money before it becomes a problem in your marriage.
There should be no surprises about where your money is going. So open up to your partner about your spending to make sure you are spending wisely and within your budget. Honesty is the key to a successful marriage, especially when it comes to your joint finances!
5. Tackle debt together
When you are married, you share a lot more with your partner than just a home and a family. You also take on each other’s personal debt as well. So prioritize tackling your joint debt as a team to achieve a financially successful marriage.
Have a discussion with your partner about how much debt you both have, the types of debt, and how you can tackle it together. Next, come up with a plan to repay your combined debt.
There are a couple of debt repayment methods you can consider. You could decide to pay off your debt with the highest interest first or tackle your smallest debt first. Both are effective and so the decision is to decide on the approach that works best for you both.
6. Review and reassess your finances on a regular basis
Losing your job, vying for a promotion, or racking up credit card debt is never easy to discuss. But as discussed, it's important to be open and transparent with your partner. Doing so is key to a successful marriage.
You could plan a “family meeting” to reassess your finances frequently with your spouse. This reassessment should include any changes in your family budget and changes in your income or debt.
This will help you both stay on track with your financial goals. It will also allow you to make adjustments if your financial situation changes.
That said, you can make discussing your finances fun! For instance, have dessert or a yummy drink when you sit down to talk about your finances. This way, talking about money won't feel like a chore. Finding ways to make things enjoyable is part of what makes a successful marriage.
Ingredients to a successful marriage
Now that we've talked about the keys to a financially successful marriage let's discuss overall success in marriage.
A successful marriage requires time and effort to make it work So here are some important ingredients to a successful marriage:
Communication and transparency
Every marriage needs to have communication and transparency. Open and transparent communication is key to a great relationship.
When you and your partner feel comfortable talking about your feelings and thoughts, it creates a marriage that is long-lasting and trusting. It is essential that you both know you will be heard and understood by each other.
Support and encouragement
A marriage thrives when you both feel supported in your goals. So you want to do your best to be supportive of your partner's dreams and goals. Be their biggest cheerleader in all aspects of their lives including their personal and financial growth.
By supporting each other, you make room for both of you to grow and change. You'll provide motivation and encouragement for each other. This ultimately leads to a stronger marriage.
Gratitude and appreciation
Showing your partner gratitude and appreciation are also keys to a successful marriage. So it's important to do this on a regular basis. You can show your appreciation and gratitude to your partner by using their love language to express your love.
You can surprise your partner with gifts. But gifts are not everything. An even better way to express your love is by making time for your partner. For instance with date nights.
You could give them a small break from their household tasks. For instance, you could make dinner or do the laundry if it's something they always do.
Now you have the keys to a successful marriage!
Every marriage is different, but these ingredients to a successful marriage can help you make the best of your relationship. Successful marriages don’t happen overnight. They take time and effort to build. And you want the success in your marriage to be on your own terms and not anyone else's.
The keys to a successful marriage require understanding your partner, being open and transparent, and having a team mindset. By staying committed to your joint happiness and growth, you'll see your marriage not only survive but thrive!
Which of these tips will you implement today?