People in love don’t blame, castigate, or chastise each other when making financial decisions. They work together to make ends meet and to prepare for tomorrow.
If you work together to address head-on the economic challenges in your marriage, your chances of success get a whole lot better. The thousands of happily married couples we have interviewed in 47 countries on all seven of the world's continents talk about taking seven steps working together to maintain their financial stability. Whether you lost your job, you had to take a pay cut to keep your job, you are deeply in debt, or you are just starting out wanting to make the right decisions, there are seven actions you need to take:
1. Communicate openly about all financial issues in your relationship. You are in this together. Financial communication and sharing is the best insurance that you both agree. It prevents a serious fault finding session later, if the decision was a bad one from a financial point of view.
2. Approach all financial decisions as a team. Make sure that every decision meets the financial goals you have set up together. Remember, these are after all our decisions not my decisions or your decisions. Agreeing on a course of action together provides the clarity of purpose necessary for finding a solution to any financial problems that occur.
3. Never make a major purchase without talking it over with your spouse and sleeping on it. You would be surprised at the number of purchases you don’t make if you sleep on it!
4. Don’t run up a “butt load” of debt. This is the number one cause of stress in marital relationships. Too much month at the end of each paycheck makes it tough to relax and enjoy life together. Work out a budget together and stick to it. Put off purchasing anything that you can until you save enough money to pay for it.
5. Don’t blame each other if things go wrong. The blame game doesn’t work in love and marriage.
6. Don’t wallow in self-pity; it is a wasted emotion. No financial problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation. Climbing out of financial difficulties takes focus, a positive team approach, and ACTION. Taking action together is the best way of solving your financial problems.
7. Celebrate each time you have a financial success such as paying off a credit card or finding a way to cut expenses. Fiscal responsibility is a virtue. Taking time to celebrate together creates the feeling that the next goal is even more achievable.