In another life, we would choose to share resources with each other such that we’re all able to live a dignified life. Capitalism has made money one of the most sensitive conversations in society. Whether it be between family, friends, couples, or even strangers, conversations regarding money almost always carry some weight or formality. When it comes to marriage, the sensitivity of this topic is taken up a notch. Because when ‘two become one’ do the finances also merge to go to the same destination?
Money has caused wars in the world. It has broken relationships, and marriage is no exception. Here are some of the financial failures that have broken marriages and divorce.
1. Personality differences / Mismatch in priorities
People have different personalities with regard to how they view money. Some are investors, and others are shoppers. Some are savers, others big spenders or others are always in debt. Some people like to budget and others just spend money like they have a money tree. You probably know people who have more liquid money than others. It is because of differences such as these. When you bring marriage into the mix, it may not always end well.
A common division of personality might be that one partner is a spender who likes to buy new things and doesn’t mind paying a high price for them, while the other partner is inherently a saver, preferring to seek bargains. That’s an issue that can lead to big problems if it’s not addressed.
For example, if one partner buys a high-end car on loan and the other is big on saving and investing, it may cause a rift between them. This may especially be made worse if the couple has a joint bank account. Relationships: To joint account or not to joint account that is the question?
2. What’s mine, yours, ours
It sounds like a reasonable concept that once you start sharing responsibilities, you put together the money to cover the bills, and once that is done, each one keeps their individual earnings. It sounds great but it isn’t. Why? The process often builds resentment over the individual purchases made. It also divides spending power, eliminating much of the financial value of marriage, as well as the ability to plan for long-term goals such as buying a home or securing retirement. Lastly, it can lead to financial infidelity where one person hides money from the other.
3. Extended family
We’ve all heard horror stories about in-laws and extended families, but this is huge. Extended families and their financial needs can actually be a reason for divorce. Why? When one partner wants to spend the savings to build a home for their mother or to pay for their sibling’s school fees, and the other one is in disagreement, the conflict can blow out of proportion. In short, co-managing finances and respecting the goals, needs, and expectations each spouse has regarding their extended family can be especially tricky. Black tax can be especially tricky for couples because of financial dependence. Dealing With ‘Black Tax’ Part 2: Building Generational Wealth To Break The Black Tax Cycle
The solution is honesty and transparency in any financial transactions involving your family. Both partners need to be on the same page regarding this.
4. Power plays
When one partner earns significantly more than the other, it can uncover bigger issues that blow out of proportion, especially if they are not discussed. On the other hand, one partner may choose to stay at home while the other goes to work, leading to financial inequality. This can lead to resentment.
To avoid this problem, have a conversation about what staying at home means for your relationship. Both partners should be on board. The same is true if one partner makes a lot more than the other. Divide expenses equitably and check in with one another regularly to tackle any problems as they arise.
5. Unexpected major expenses
Sometimes unexpected expenses may pop up which none of you would have foreseen. That’s where an emergency fund comes in, but in the case that you don’t have one, it can lead to issues. These could include caring for an elderly relative, medical emergencies, major home repairs, or unplanned travel. It could also include child-related expenses that weren’t agreed on by both parties.
6. Loss of financial control
If you wake up every day and work hard to make your money, then obviously you want to be in control of how your money is spent. Right? So what happens when you can’t control the expenditure of your own money because for every decision you must consult your partner? You may start resenting them.
The most common problem is when a woman is made to feel marginalized because of her perceived lack of contribution or influence in building family wealth. How do you deal with this? Be honest with your partner. Tell them how you feel, and find a way to solve the issue together.
Many people get married with financial baggage. It could be a car loan, a credit card, or even gambling habits. What we don’t realize is that in most states that operate under common law, debts incurred after marriage jointly are owed by both spouses. So, if one partner gets into debt and especially unnecessary debt, then it may cause tension because both of them would be liable to pay. As a result, one partner may see the only solution as divorce. Finances: How You Deal With Debt Can Make You Or Break You! What Are Your Debt Habits?
Here are some other articles on finances and couples that you should check out