And Now You Are One

November 11, 2006 at 8:22 pm 2 comments

My husband and I have been reading up a lot on personal finances and marriage. One of the top reasons for divorce in America is money problems and fights. I think it’s an area of concern for most couples. It’s something they should talk about and, most definitely, agree on. Honestly, my relationship with my husband has been great. We’ve always been communicators about most things in our marriage, except for finances.

Whithin the first year of our marriage, we had medical bills, student loans, credit card and car payments and we just didn’t want to talk about it. I was content with him handling the money because I could ignore it. It didn’t create a lot of tension between us, but I could see that it bothered him whenever we went to the grocery store or when we had to buy things we actually needed. I hated seeing that look on his face. It was a look of frustration and disappointment and it made me feel guilty about spending a dime on a necessity.

Fast-forward to today, the story is completely different. We sit down every month and do our budget. It’s something we rather enjoy because we tell our money where to go and it’s a liberating thing. His frustration and disappointment is gone. And my feelings of guilt are gone as well. All of our expenses are planned now.

We’ve been extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to share our story at our church in various classes and ministries. We’re able to look back at the emotions and experiences we had to go through to get where we are now. We think about how we can better help others that were in the same or similar situation in their marriage? How can they avoid the pitfalls of debt that we have climbed out of?

We’ve come up with 10 ideas or tips to help couples through this process of communicating about money that are consistent with scripture.

1. 100% Disclosure.
There are no secrets allowed. Tell your spouse or partner everything about your debt, income, and financial strengths and weaknesses. Lay out all your cards on the table or you will lose.

2. Joint Agreement.
Agree on major money issues like debt, savings and budgeting. You’re a team and can’t win without a common goal.

3. Practice Makes Perfect.
Get the money fights out of the way and work on a budget. A working budget will take practice, so stick with it.

4. Zero Down Payment.
Don’t pay bills for people you’re not married to.

5. American Dream On Hold.
Wait at least a year before you buy a house. Give yourselves a year to find your financial equilibrium and come to a point where financially you’re functioning as one.

6. Share and Share Alike.
None of this you and me, it’s we. Open a joint checking account. This will force you to convert “his/her” bills into “ou” bills and encourages communication and unity in the marriage. If you want a life of your own, don’t get married.

7. Another Meeting.
When you get married, have a monthly budget committee meeting. Write it down on paper so the two of you can agree on how the money is spent.

8. Saving for A Rainy Day.
Remember that your first step in planning your financial future is to have an emergency fund. If you have debt, start a baby emergency fund of $1,000.

9. The Big Pay Off.
When the debt is gone, build up the fund to cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses.

10. Play the Percentages.
If your emergency fund is fully funded, set aside 15 percent of your income toward retirement. Then fund a college plan, if you have kids.

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Entry filed under: Budgeting, Money Fun.

The NIL Principle Did you know?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cody  |  June 10, 2007 at 5:50 am

    Great tips! This was a great read

    Reply
  • 2. slice toaster broiler hamilton  |  November 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your website is useful.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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