Couples Can Use These 6 Tips To Make Money And Marriage Work Together

Sara F Gonzalez

It seems like crooks in Charlotte are always coming up with new ways to deceive people into handing them more money.

No, I'm not referring to Congress.

Last week, those of us in the Charlotte tax professional world who are paying attention (because, let's face it, many of our colleagues are still on vacation) were assaulted with messages from the official IRS channels and other similar voices informing us that there is a new fraud afoot. Essentially, the fraudsters are now “spoofing” the numbers they call from, making it appear as if the call is coming from the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. If the taxpayer asks a query, they direct you to IRS.gov to seek up the local TAC office phone number to double-check. They then hang up and call again, this time with the taxpayer's confidence in their hands.

Allow me to remind you that IRS TAC personnel do not call taxpayers to demand payment of past-due tax payments. The IRS may phone a taxpayer in certain circumstances, but only after receiving numerous notices in the mail.

Don't fall for threats, and don't fall for this one either.

So there you have it... May has arrived. And the season is unmistakably changing.

Indeed, I believe we are approaching wedding season in Charlotte.

And the truth is that a large percentage of Charlotte's unsuccessful marriages identify financial difficulties as a major cause in their split. In fact, disagreements about money is a leading cause of divorce all over America. One third couples say that their finances cause a majority of their arguments. [1] As unfortunate as this is, it shouldn't come as a surprise, because our principles are reflected in how we spend our time and money.

Marriages fall apart when there isn't a clear set of agreed beliefs concerning money and marriage. However, I've witnessed how dealing with economics together can bring a marriage closer together.

— but not much further apart.

It does, however, matter how you approach it. Here are some ideas to consider as the wedding season approaches. Maybe they'd be handy for a young couple in your life... (or you!)

Charlotte Couples Can Use These Six Tips To Make Money And Marriage Work Together

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many young couples enter marriage without a clear understanding of how to manage their finances, which can lead to stress, disagreements, and long-term marital issues.

As a result, there are some couples for whom money has become a stumbling block. So, while I don't consider myself a "marriage expert," I've seen a lot of successful financial unions... and a lot more than I'd want of those that didn't.

Here are several suggestions, as well as a gift suggestion at the end.

1. Don't shy away from the difficult tasks.


It's critical to develop the skill of financial discussion, whether you're in the pre-marriage period or you've already started your relationship. Because of the mental discomfort caused by guilt, anxiety, and past pain, problematic communication patterns might develop.

So, as a gift to yourself, develop a list of difficult things that you may work on over time.

Many Charlotte couples, for example, are scared to discuss the three Ds: debt, death, and disability. Instead of avoiding these worries, take the opportunity to talk about them. Both of you will feel better if you plan beforehand.

2. Discuss your various financial backgrounds.


How we were raised has a huge impact on how we handle money. Depending on your upbringing, you may have heard a variety of attitudes voiced around the dinner table as a child, and these attitudes have surely affected your financial perspective as an adult. Your background, whether it comes from poverty or wealth, is tremendously influential.

So, if you and your spouse have opposing views on money, talk about how you were taught and strive toward a compromise where you can complement each other's strengths.

3. Put yourself in the shoes of the other.


Switch for a few months if one of you generally pays all the bills. You or your partner might get a crash course in how much it costs to manage a household. Keep track of all expenditures for at least one billing cycle (typically one month) to identify where your money is going and to determine which expenses can be reduced or eliminated. You can even come upon opportunities to help others.

4. Maintain a degree of (minimal) independence.


Maintain a separate amount of money as a "slush fund" where you can each make purchases without mutual consent, even if you have a joint checking account. Keep these amounts small (you always want partnership in large amounts), but a sense of independence (however symbolic) will help both of you feel equal in the relationship, even if your salaries are vastly different.

5. Come up with a financial plan jointly.


Find a way to collaborate on a small, money-related endeavour, such as trading stocks or saving for a specific objective. Choose something that isn't emotionally charged and treat it like a workout. As your judgments grow more important, you'll find that working together in modest ways will benefit you a lot.

6. Agree that you will not lose money on taxes.


Obviously, this is why we're here, and a practical tax strategy is one of the best gifts you can offer yourself. And perhaps the best place to begin is to ensure that your taxes have been handled correctly. 

 

Marriage is not easy, but don't let money make it even harder! If you are a young person, perhaps about to get married, check out this article on financial stewardship to see some basic steps in how to look after your money. At times in our lives, we are all worried about our finances, but some foundational principles will save you a lot of stress!

Sara F Gonzalez
(704) 599-3355

Kohari & Gonzalez PLLC

 

Footnotes and further reading:

 

[1] For Richer, for Poorer: Money as a Topic of Marital Conflict in the Home, by Lauren M. Papp, Ph.D., E. Mark Cummings, Ph.D., and Marcie C. Goeke-Morey, Ph.D. 

 

[2] Top 6 Marriage-Killing Money Issues https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/09/marriage-killing-money-issues.asp#citation-1  

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