Even if your spouse isn't talking about it, don't assume he/she is not thinking about it: money. In these economic times, it would be very rare if someone did not worry on some level about finances. And worrying is all about the future. It's all fear-driven and, in some cases, the fear is covering up the shame.
In relationships, it's about future financial stability. So are you building something together or going along and letting your emotions control your decisions?
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Here are five common worries about money in a relationship:
1. Do we have enough?
2. What is enough?
3. What happens if we have an unexpected expense?
4. What happens if either of us loses our job?
5. How do we resolve the double standards in our spending styles?
So how do you save your marriage from the stress of money? Start with quantity: Where are both of you right now with your net income? Look at your joint income and expenses and be honest about them. Don't spend time now wishing or planning for what might be in the future. The future is not here yet, that promotion has not arrived yet, and that bonus is still in the sky.
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Second, both partners need to agree on the "division of labor," as I call it. Decide who is doing what. If both partners are not having children right away, but want to at some point, then that creates an added column on the spreadsheet you should prepare when you sit down talk finances. Do you have enough now to cover your basic expenses and have money left over? If so, only then do you add in the items that you "want" but don't "need." Manicures, for example, fall into the "want" column. His weekly racquetball game at the club may help build his business, that could be a need; there is quantifiable result in spending money each month on that club. Keep reading...
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