fbpx
Your Most Important Financial Decision: Choosing a Spouse

Your Most Important Financial Decision: Choosing a Spouse

Advertiser Disclosure: We may be compensated by advertising and affiliate programs. See full disclosure below.

I disagree with the common assumption that buying a house will be your biggest financial decision. I believe your choice of a marriage partner will be your single biggest financial decision.  Besides, who do you think is going to help you make the house decision? Therefore, make your spouse decision carefully.  The reasons go far, far beyond money, but since this is a financial blog, let’s focus on the financial implications for a moment.

Studies have shown that savers tend to be attracted to spenders.  Experience confirms that savers get annoyed with spenders and spenders get frustrated with savers.  Ahh.  The beauty of the male-female relationship.

Your Most Important Financial Decision: Choosing a Spouse 1

Photo by Pixel Drip via Flickr.

When couples are dating they believe love will cover a multitude of spending differences.  Alas, time will likely tell a different story.  Since money is one of the leading causes of divorce you might do well to at least consider if you and your future spouse are financially compatible.

How to know if you and your spouse are financially compatible

  1. Prepare a fictional budget. Decide on an appropriate estimated take home pay for your household.  Each of you need to hide in a corner and spend your money on paper (some people call this making a budget — here’s how to create a budget).  Then sit down together and share your result.  Highlight and discuss any huge differences in your budget categories.  For a guide you can compare your results to these recommended budget percentages by category.  From there you’ll need to discuss some of the nitty gritty elements of financial management — will you combine your finances?
  2. Participate in premarital counseling. Call your local church or community center and ask if someone on staff does premarital counseling.  If they say ‘no’ shake the dust from your feet and call someone else.  Keep making calls until you find someone who will help with premarital counseling.
  3. Don’t get a prenuptial agreement (unless you have adult children you wish to financially protect).   Yes, I know this is an unpopular thing to say, but hey — it’s what I think.  Here’s why — the last thing marriages need is a bright red “Emergency Exit” light.  Prenuptials keep divorce on the table.  My wife and I have completely removed divorce as a solution to our differences.  It forces us to resolve our issues and work together.
  4. Discuss your feelings and attitudes about money. How did your family spend money?  How much money did your family have?  Who paid for your vehicle and school?  What would you do with a $10,000 inheritance?  How much of your salary do you currently give? A lot of things in you’re background impacts how you act with money.  Taking the frugal or cheap test might reveal some interesting differences about you feel about money.
  5. Listen to advice. Look, I know right now you think you know what you are doing.  You might, and you might not.  Be humble enough to listen to the concerns of people you respect.
  6. Pay attention to wedding spending. When one spouse is buying everything in sight, speak now or forever hold your collector’s bills.  Overspending for a wedding is not a sign of a one-time spending spree, but it is a sign that you are about to marry someone who will do their best to spend every penny you both earn. Talk openly about how much should you pay for a wedding?  Remember that typically bad money choices are patterns, not isolated events.  By the way, if your planning a wedding you need to check out some great wedding tips.

What else would you suggest should be done to avoid making a costly spouse decision? Anyone want to suggest a more important financial decision?

Recommended Articles

8
Leave a Reply

avatar
7 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
PinyoCarolK. BowenCraig FordAJ Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Danielle
Guest

Its amazing how many people start and progress through relationships without talking about money and learning the other persons’ strengths and weaknesses. It also appalls me that they would begin the huge financial decisions of planning a wedding without having some semblance of these conversations. This is a GREAT article and I plan on sharing it on my blog and FB!

thanks
Danielle

Doctor S
Guest
Doctor S

Spenders def are attracted to savers… As an avid spender, I found my future wife who is a saver. To make it even better, she is also a looker! I think when two people combine their financial well beings into one family they learn from each other more than anything. This is why so many relationships fail b/c of monetary issues. Maybe my fiancee and I are moving along well b/c I just am open to whatever she wants to do with the money. I have a ton of student loan debt and she has none. She has saved up… Read more »

AJ
Guest
AJ

I totally agree.

K. Bowen
Guest
K. Bowen

Although we perhaps do not want to admit it, we know this is good wisdom. Financial decisions and debt can be major factors in a divorce. It is important to choose a spouse as wisely as Cupid will allow.

Carol
Guest
Carol

I recently got engaged to a man who seems to have a very good head about money and saving. He is presently in debt for a loan on a parcel of land and to build our house, but has no credit card or student loan debt. I however, have never had an easy time with money, and while I do not have credit card debt, I do have a huge pile of student loan debt. I feel very regretful about this, and it saddens/stresses me out to be bringing nothing but debt (in terms of physical and financial resources) into… Read more »

Carol
Guest
Carol

Thank you so much for your comments! What a relief!

Your Most Important Financial Decision: Choosing a Spouse

by Craig Ford time to read: 3 min
8