When you decide to marry someone, there are a lot of things you need to consider. Your partner needs to be the right person for you. Are they loyal? Are they hardworking? Do they treat you with kindness and respect? Do you two have common goals and interests?
Compatibility can mean a lot of things, but one thing you should not overlook is how compatible you and your partner are when it comes to finances. You may think of money as a private matter, but it is something you need to discuss before you walk down the aisle. Otherwise, it could lead to divorce.
Money is a hot topic for many people, especially in these economic times. The cost of food, gas, and everything else is constantly rising. Because of this, many people place a high value on acquiring money.
It is common for savers to marry spenders. When their partner does not have the same feelings about money, though, it can cause a lot of distress in a marriage. That is why talking about money habits before marriage can save a lot of heartache later on when financial issues big and small crop up.
You have to keep in mind that your financial situation can change in an instant. You may have a great-paying job one day and get laid off the next day. Your spouse could end up disabled and unable to work. You or your spouse may like to gamble or shop.
You should know your partner’s financial history before you get married. Do they have a lot of debt? Are they living from paycheck to paycheck? Do they have any savings? If you and your spouse are struggling to find common ground when it comes to money
What is Financial Compatibility?
Contrary to what you may believe, financial compatibility is not about making the same amount of money as your spouse nor is it about having the same financial background in your families (you both grew up poor or rich, for example). Instead, it is more about each person’s approach to money. In a marriage, spouses will often have to make joint decisions about purchases, such as buying a house or a car. They will also have to make decisions about smaller purchases, such as groceries, utility bills, and one-time or less frequent purchases, such as birthday presents. As you would imagine, highly compatible couples argue less frequently about money, while less compatible partners argue more.
These arguments can be toxic to a marriage. Research shows that a higher frequency of financial disagreements predicts divorce. It does not matter how much money you have; it is more about your money habits.
Interestingly, how partners differ as savers or spenders can be a continuum. Partners can be mostly the same, somewhat the same, somewhat different, or vastly different. The more extreme the difference, the more potential there is for disagreements that could ruin your relationship.
How Do You Know You are Compatible?
So are you and your spouse compatible when it comes to money? Here are some signs:
- You can discuss money without fighting. You will encounter money issues of all sizes in a marriage. There may be a financial emergency, such as a medical bill, broken appliance, or car problem. You both will need to be honest about these problems and discuss them as they come up. If it’s easy to discuss money matters with your spouse without turning it into an argument, then you are compatible.
- You trust your partner. While in some marriages, one person is appointed as the money manager, you both will be spending money at some point. Your spouse may need to buy groceries, put gas in the car, or grab dinner. You should be able to trust your spouse to spend money and make decisions without you having to be in full control. However, the statistics show that 30%-40% of people do not trust their partner to spend money wisely, which is a huge concern.
- You do not hide purchases. It is not a good sign if you or your spouse has to lie about purchases or their prices. This is called financial infidelity and it is sneaky behavior. This poor communication puts the foundation of your marriage on shaky ground. It does not bode well for the future of your marriage.
- You discuss large purchases together. You may not be able to buy what you want. Marriage is a partnership, so you and your spouse need to decide when you will talk about larger purchases. What is the max price? As a guideline, the average is $227 for women and $261 for men. Be sure to consult with your partner before dropping $500 at the mall, especially if you have a joint account.
- You have similar credit scores. Similar credit scores mean that you and your spouse are on the same wavelength financially. If yours is high and your spouse’s is much lower, then that could be a cause of concern. Low credit scores are often because of irresponsible money decisions, such as bankruptcy or maxed-out credit cards.
Seek Legal Help
Many divorces are caused by financial issues, so compatibility is crucial for a successful marriage. When couples have different financial goals and attitudes toward money, it can lead to serious arguments.
Money is important and most people have strong feelings about it. If you and your partner cannot agree on earning and spending it, then it may be time to call it quits. Count on Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to guide you through a peaceful divorce. To schedule a consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (954) 398-5712.