How To Protect Your Marriage In Economic Downturn

Money, Finances, Economic Crisis, And Relationship

First Published Date : March 5, 2009

Money is one of the major causes of friction in a relationship. Most probably, money issues are second only to infidelity as a cause of divorce. In a relationship or a marriage, couples are bonding together from very different backgrounds. Two different persons with different incomes, different debts, and different ways of managing personal finances are joining together to share and form common values and perspectives. These issues, specially money issues can be a real problem.

An unstable, or even a healthy relationship, can go thru a rocky ride during economic downturn. The reason is very simple. Money and finances get over-heated and threatened during post economic downturn. These issues always exist; however, during good times we tend to ignore these because there is always food on the table and somehow we manage to get by. But things change during economic downturn. When jobs are hard to find, the cost of living is on the rise, suddenly things don’t look rosy anymore. Our emotions and spirits change and our relationships reach on the verge of a breakdown.

What you can do to protect your marriage/relationship in a downturn? Try taking the following steps. These steps are not just good during an economic downturn. You should apply these anytime to make your relation journey a smooth one.

·   Talk – Communicate with your partner regarding money issues and any other issues on a regular basis. Take the current economic crisis as an opportunity to get together and start communicating. Talk about your fears, goals, issues, and so on. Divide financial tasks and work together to make changes on your financial plans.

·   Track Your Expenses – Tracking expenses gives you a visualization of where your money is exactly going. You need to know this to cut unnecessary expenses and increase your savings. You can do all sorts of calculations and thinking in your mind to figure out where your money is going – but the real picture may not be the same as your mind tries to depict. Spending just a few dollars here and there daily can add up to a large amount at month’s end and tracking expenses will show you how powerful it can be to cut once-daily visit to your coffee shop. Tracking expenses will gradually help you make better decisions.

·   Set Goals – Set long and short term goals. Write down these goals in a notebook and setup monthly or quarterly meetings with your partner to review your goals. Goals could include buying a house in three years, kids’ education fund, retirement etc.

·   Budget – I don’t believe budget works; however, follow these two simple rules and avoid the hassle of budgeting: spend less than what you earn and spend within your means, and track your spending.

·   Change Your Outlook – Change your outlook from my money, your money to our money. Once you are married – your incomes, debts, money, finances, everything become OURS. That’s the purpose of marriage or staying in a relationship.

·   Maintain Joint Accounts – Always maintain joint checking and savings accounts. This forces you to work together and it’s easier to manage one account than many accounts. Joint accounts provide the extra boost to become financially successful as couples. It reminds you that you two are one now, and your financial success depends on how you can plan and act jointly.

·   Maintain Two Separate Credit Cards – You need to do this to have better credit scores. Better credit scores will help you to get lower interest rates on your loan to buy large item purchases such as house, car etc.

·   Don’t Hide Anything – Never hide anything from your partner. If you have bought an expensive item impulsively, discuss it with your partner. It is better to tell him something you did without his knowledge now, rather than him finding out years later.