Money and Marriage: Like a Horse and Carriage

Photo (cc) by Orin Zebest

Editor’s Note: The video for this story was produced by Money Talks. The text article is from partner site LowCards.com.

June is the traditional “wedding season” and many newlyweds are dreaming of a happy life together. Agreement over finances and paying off debt are important preparations for a long-lasting union.

According to the study, “Bank On It: Thrifty Couples are the Happiest,” conflict about money predicts divorce better than any other type of disagreement. Couples who disagree about finances once a week were more than 30% more likely to divorce over time than couples who only disagree about finances a few times per month.

The study says that perception about how well one’s spouse handles money is also a factor in shaping family life. If an individual feels the spouse spends money foolishly, he or she reports lower levels of marital happiness. That also increases the likelihood of divorce 45% for both men and women. Only alcohol/drug abuse and extramarital affairs were stronger predictors of divorce.

Editor’s Note: Take a look at this story we did to see what a credit counselor had to say about money and divorce:

“Conflicts over money and the burdens of debt put a heavy strain on marriage and can spread into other issues. It can erode your relationship and even causes the marriage to collapse,” says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com and author of The Credit Card Guidebook. “Committing to a family budget and savings plan is making a commitment to your marriage.”

Before you get married, know how your future spouse will treat money. Don’t assume that your spouse shares your beliefs about money. Even if your future spouse is kind and respectful to you, he or she may treat money differently.

The spending and saving habits may surprise you. A free spender before marriage will probably be a free spender after marriage.

To avoid surprises, have an honest discussion about money before the wedding day. This talk may be difficult, but it is necessary before joining life and finances. If one partner has large debt or difficulties managing money, address these issues before the marriage. Debt can not only affect your financial future, it can also severely damage your credit score.

Here are some financial tips for newlyweds:

  • Before the wedding, show all of your cards. Be honest about your income, debts and money problems. Bring out your bank statements from the past 12 months to show what you did with your money. Explain how your parents raised you to handle money and your strengths and weaknesses with money. Admit if you are a spender or a saver.
  • Each of you should get a copy of your credit reports from the three credit bureaus. This will give you a clear picture of credit accounts, debts, and how creditors will judge you. Aim to get your scores over 750 to receive the lowest interest rates for your first mortgage and other loans.
  • Have a wedding that you can afford. Do not start a life together by using a credit card to pay for a wedding that is out of your budget.
  • Avoid credit card debt. The best rule of thumb is simply, “if you can’t pay for something with cash, you can’t afford it.”
  • Get one or two credit cards and stick with them. Use them for several purchases each month and pay them off immediately. Building a long-term payment history with one or two credit cards is an important factor in your credit score.
  • Each spouse should have a credit card in his or her own name to build an individual credit score.
  • If you have a credit card balance, pay as much as you can over the minimum each month. If you receive gift money, a bonus, a second job or a tax refund, use this to pay off your debt. The faster you pay it off, the quicker you can focus on saving and getting ahead. You can even make micro-payments multiple times during the month to pay off your balance faster. Eat a meal at home and immediately apply the money you saved to your credit card balance.
  • Before the first bills come in, make a plan for paying them and who will pay them. If you have separate accounts, know which account pays each bill.
  • Reduce your debt-to-credit limit ratio. This will help improve your credit score. Your monthly debt, including your mortgage, should not exceed 35% of your gross income.
  • Differentiate between your wants and your needs. Then simplify your wants.

“It is easy to get caught in the trap of wanting more than what you have, keeping up with the Joneses, and looking to ‘stuff’ for happiness. But this will put you on the fast track to increasing your debt,” says Hardekopf.

“Savings and assets help build financial security and increase the odds of a strong, happy marriage that lasts.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This
Half of All Retirees Say They Fear This

Chances are good that you share this fear. Here’s a way to overcome it.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

9 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon
9 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon

You don’t have to be a Prime member to take advantage of these little-known perks of shopping on Amazon.

The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers
The 2 Biggest Retirement Fears of Baby Boomers

Boomers have a lot of worries as they age, but two stand out.

13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home
13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home

Get your household organized with these brilliant and inexpensive tricks.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.