Money is one of the biggest contributors to divorce, so why is no one talking about it?
Being a stay at home dad, and not having any real income of my own, I am lucky that my wife and I pool our money. What she brings home is ours. If we kept it separate, I probably would be much thinner. But our arrangement is not like many others. I am lucky that my wife and I rarely fight about money. We have similar goals and ideas on what to do with our money. Not everyone is like that.
We are all brought up dealing with money the same way. What we make is ours. I made the money, and I get to decide how to spend it. This was how we learned to handle money. But once you’re married things change. Even for couples who try to keep their assets separate, they still need to pay joint bills. Then, once kids come along, this is even more true. It is very difficult to maintain “my money” once you have kids. There are just too many bills.
With all the stress that comes from managing money, it is no surprise that money can be one of the most common things couples fight about. We just are not good at letting someone else decide what to do with “my money”. We want the control that we have had our entire lives. Now when someone else is also making decisions, it can be very stressful.
When you’re married, especially when one spouse has left the workforce to provide child care, this feeling of “my money” can be a disaster. The earner may be resentful of the at-home spouse spending their money. The at-home spouse may be the resentful one if they feel that they aren’t allowed to buy anything without permission.
I’m lucky. I am a stay at home dad, and without my wife, I would be broke. There is no other way to look at it. I haven’t held a real “job” in almost four years. My skills aren’t up to date and the older I get the more likely it is that the only job I could get would be as a greeter at big box store.
But like I said, I am lucky. Because my wife not only understands what I do, and why I am not bringing in a check, but we rarely fight about money. She shares her check without question, always calling it “our money” She doesn’t give me an allowance, and I don’t spend behind her back. We get along with money just great.
Let’s Talk About Money
The secret, if there is one, is communication. My wife and I took a great deal of time when we first got married to talk about money. We took some classes on how to manage our money as a couple. We were able to get our goals in order and make sure we wanted the same things.
Allow me to break the down even further. We talked about retirement, and what that would cost. We talked about where we would like to live when we able to buy a house. We talked about debt, and why we hated the idea of paying extra just to have something now. We talked about wanting children and what we wanted to be able to provide for them. We then built a budget around that, being sure to leave money for daily indulgences that make such stringent saving palpable.
Real quick, the secret to a good family budget is it is absolutely remarkably rigid. Except when it isn’t. You have to stick to the budget even if that means going without something you just can’t afford this month. But if you come across a recurring shortfall in one area, change your budget to fix that. Pull the money from another area and up your grocery allotment if you need to.
But I am not even to the best part of all this money management. All of this talk and honesty at the start of our marriage means that now, we don’t talk about money a lot. Most importantly, we don’t fight about money a lot. We check with each other on big purchases, or to be sure everything is going smooth. But money isn’t at the forefront of our lives. It isn’t something that causes us stress. Isn’t there enough things to stress out a relationship without money being part of it?
How do you handle your money? What works for you? Let me know in the comments below.
Originally published on Kzoodad.com
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