As we all know money/financial strain is one of the chief reasons for divorce. We also know that the statistic for divorce of first marriages is 50% BUT the statistic for divorce of second marriages is a whopping 70%! So throwing the money card into a second marriage could be a recipe for disaster – unless you are aware of what is happening.
Our country is experiencing a recession whether they want to formally label it that or not. Families are struggling everyday to save their homes, their jobs, and their sanity. When you are married you feel you are “in this together” or “till death do us part” right? Yes, it should be that way but there are days when we all have hit that wall and just don’t know where to go from there.
It is tough because money issues aren’t something that can just go away overnight. Especially now that we find ourselves in the same circumstance as many people these days – we aren’t alone but it sure can feel that way. You have to be on the same page when it comes to finances with your spouse and sometimes that is way easier said than done. Putting a plan into action regarding how to save your home quickly or how to pay for your child’s lunch when one or both of you may have lost your job is extremely stressful on everyone in the family.
It is a fact that we are all different people. With that come different ideals, morals, values, and visions. Prior to marriage we all had a certain way we managed our own finances and for most of us we got comfortable with it and it worked for us. Hopefully you have found that person who balances you out or who has similar thoughts, actions, and financial management skills as you do. If not, it is all about compromise. That’s what everyone tells us anyway. It is hard in the beginning because we are set in our ways. Sometimes we can see the other person’s side and it may become a much needed change. In other situations you both may be so similar and neither one of you has any money management genes in your make up. Either way, in this time in history, we all have to be conscious of how we utilize our hard earned money and be conscious of how our spouses feel about money too.
Here are just a few ways to “Recession Proof your marriage”:
• Keep an open line of communication going about finances. This is not a fun conversation to have but the more you talk about it the more you can work together to fix something before a problem arises. That way it doesn’t seem as if the bulk of the financial strain lies within one of you – it affects BOTH of you so you BOTH need to talk about it!
• Honesty IS the best policy. We’ve all done it – hide a pair of new shoes in the trunk of our car waiting until the right time to run them into our closet before we’re spotted. This was a hard one for me but I had to stop doing that. It wasn’t helping our finances if I was sabotaging all of our hard work we put into getting a budget together as a married couple. By not telling the “whole truth” about how much those shoes really were or about even buying the shoes then we aren’t fully into doing what is best for the family as a whole. (Side note: my husband now knows I have a shoe addiction and we working on my issues – instead of buying 4 pairs at a time maybe 2 would be alright or God forbid – only one pair! Baby steps!)
• Online Banking and Online Bank Statements. This is usually a feature that your bank offers for free. If so please take it. This is one of the best things you can do to manage your money. Your account is available to you 24/7 and if you have an issue you can find it there in front of you in black and white. They even have an option to export your data into a spreadsheet. This way it makes it easier to discuss your finances in an intelligent way. Online bill pay is another great way to really stay on top of what is coming in and going out.
• Work Together. You don’t necessarily have to have all of your money in one account. Finances are a very sticky and personal topic for people – especially married couples. It varies from couple to couple. You just need to know what your family needs and where you are going to get the money to cover the need. Again, be honest and know that the more you work together the harder it will be to have anything outside work against you. Two heads are ALWAYS better than one.
• Remember the Golden Rule. We are all going to argue. That is normal. As a matter of fact if you don’t argue there may be an issue. Money brings out the best and worst in people and that means your spouse as well. By doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, you are letting your spouse know that financial strain is just another test of your marriage and of your will. Try and keep a level head when discussing finances as this discussion has a tendency to get out of control very quickly. If you can remember that you want to be treated and respected in a certain manner then you can bet your spouse is feeling the very same way.
• Take two steps back to take one step forward. No one wants to hear this but with the times we are living in any step forward is a feat. Maybe you don’t need the 300 channel cable package and the 100 channel package saving you $50 a month will do. Maybe you don’t need 12,000 minutes on your cell phone family plan and the 3000 minute package and talking after 7pm and on weekends saving you $100 a month will do. These are just two small examples of compromises you can make. I’m not saying just “get rid” of cable or your cell phone – I’m saying there are always ways to cut back. Sometimes cutting back now will put you in a better position later.
Communication, budgeting, and listening skills are huge components in getting through a recession with your marriage AND your sanity intact – we’re ALL in this together!