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Money & Marriage

 

Money can be a silent killer to your marriage and if not handled before the wedding, can result in the demise of your marriage. So, Money can’t buy you, love. However, it’s a strategic necessity to ensure your family’s financial legacy is intact and helps bring peace and balance to your home.

When boundaries are not established, or partners are not transparent about their financial habits and financial picture before marriage, the home life can spiral out of control very fast. Marriage is a massive transition in itself without having to add financial instability to the picture.

Money is often a taboo subject, however, when two people decided they want to spend the rest of their lives together, everything has to be laid out on the table, including that credit report. The dating stage is not only a time to assess your physical and spiritual compatibility, but it also the time to determine your financial compatibility. Avoidance only worsens the situation. And if you find out that you’re not financially compatible with your partner, it’s okay. You can both agree to see a financial counselor that can work with the both of you for an extended period to improve and fix the financial issues. After, consistent positive behavior towards money, then you can decide if you want to move forward with marriage.  If one of you decides to walk away, that’s fine too; it’s better to dissolve a relationship before marriage than to marry the wrong spouse and build an entire life and have it ripped to shreds in one instant.

I know many are trying to Keep up with the Joneses and or aspire to Move on Up like the Jefferson’s, but there is such serenity in staying in your lane- there’s less traffic. Often, we look at another couple and may envy what they have and yet not know the losses and challenges along the way.

Money tips for Christian couples before and after marriage:

–    Reveal all financial matters during the dating/engagement stage- this includes debts, loans, outstanding medical bills, collection items, credit report and traffic tickets. Nothing is off limits when forever is at stake. Trust and Integrity are pillars of marriage; you don’t want to start the foundation off wrong. It is imperative to know your future spouse spending / financial character, not necessary to change him/her but to structure your lives accordingly and to decide who will manage the finances. We tend to relate better when having the full understanding of what we are getting into

–    Decide if you want a joint account or separate accounts-  The decision varies depending on the financial intelligence of the couple. I know the traditional advice you obtain from the church is only to have a joint account. I disagree with this method. I suggest assessing your financial goals and obligations and your career progression and prioritize from that.  I feel any joint account should be for – significant expenses (I know I made that up)- mortgage, kids tuition, kids before and aftercare, nannies, insurance, summer camps, groceries, 529 plan, kids clothing. Then, each person can have separate accounts to address personal expenses- personal credit cards, cell phone bill, personal maintenance (haircuts, nails, spa, own shopping, etc. )   Often one spouse may lose his job at some point in the marriage, leaving a dent in the couple’s pocket. Have a contingency plan for this because job loss or financial stalemate is inevitable in a depressed economy.

–    Pay your 10% monthly- It’s a principle that displays recognition that everything we have comes from God.  I honestly believe that this principle should also be discussed before marriage, if you’re dating someone who doesn’t agree with this biblical principle and they are Christian, then you have to assess other areas of their lives. If your significant other does not believe in this principle, then it will be a rift in your marriage. If one spouse starts not to pay tithes when they are gainfully employed, you’re telling Jehovah Rophe- the one who provides that he is not a priority. Also, I believe in  2 Corinthians 9: 6-7: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

-Budget sowing into each other. It is also expedient to know that couples are sowing into each other lives; regarding giving allowances for hair, haircuts, nails, family travel and additional personal expenditure is necessary because investing in one’s garden is the surest way to reap good representation and general happiness.

–    Meet weekly to discuss your financial situation- this way you’re in constant communication about upcoming financial plans and obligations.  This meeting should be a separate day from your date nights considering how intense the conversations can be. It’s at this time you can also discuss retirement plans, investment choices, etc. Have the tough conversations – retirement plans, wills, etc.

–    Never invest any money in stocks unless you’ve communicated it to your spouse. Although stocks are an excellent way to increase your financial portfolio, it ebbs and flows. Some stocks are more volatile than others, so whether its joint money or personal money, the impact of the stock will affect both of you, so it better to have a discussion and weigh the implications before investing in stocks.

–    Be intentional about your spending. Ask yourself daily, is this a want or a need? Prioritize the needs first.

–    Have savings and emergency money for family death or auto accident. The unexplainable will happen, be prepared as much as possible.

Money can be the root of all evil if you as a couple allow it. As you assess each other’s strengths and weaknesses on finance, try and meet one another in the middle whereby you’re not a spendthrift, but you’re not a miser either. How one partner manages funds could be a deal breaker that either moves couple closer or end the relationship. However, it is a necessary bridge that must be addressed before the wedding day.

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