Love may be blind to some lovebirds, but financial matters between couples are always crystal clear . In fact , money is one of the leading causes of divorce among couples. According to research by SunTrust Bank based in the United States , 35 per cent of couples said money usually caused friction in their relationships.
Another 2018 survey conducted by TD Bank , US , found that one- third of married couples argued about money at least once a month and that 44 per cent of divorced couples had regular arguments about finances before they split.
According to finance experts and marriage counsellors, money problems often begin early in a relationship , starting from when couples begin planning their weddings . For instance, if the bride is extravagant and the groom frugal , money friction is bound to occur.
The experts have identified the following seven most common money mistakes that can ruin a marriage and how to fix them.
Not setting shared financial goals
Finance expert, Ms Esther Trattner , said building a life and a home with someone means setting mutual financial goals .
“ If each of you is saving for a different vision of the future, you are bound to have issues ,” she wrote on MoneyWise. com.
Trattner advised that instead of assuming they were both on the same page , partners should take the time to sit down together and make a five -year plan on meeting money goals .
“ Break down the plan into steps to be accomplished in the coming months and years . Working together will build a stronger relationship, a better understanding of your money and a future you both want , ” she said .
According to the Managing Partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, New York City , US , Ms Jacqueline Newman, hiding money from your partner is known as financial infidelity .
It may seem harmless at first , but it can be just as damaging to a relationship as physical infidelity.
Newman said keeping a savings account or stash of cash hidden from one ’s partner could lead to the marriage’ s downfall once the other partner found out .
“ The other partner finds out and then trust is destroyed ,” she said .
According to a 2018 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education , US , 75 per cent of couples surveyed said financial deception had adversely affected their relationships .
Keeping debt a secret
A marriage counsellor, Mrs Bimbo Adebowale , said keeping debt a secret could harm a marriage .
“ The problem with debt is that it cannot be hidden forever. The partner would still find out sooner or later , ” she said . “ In fact, hiding debt is as bad as hiding money from your spouse . ”
Adebowale said when one of the partners had debt they were hiding, it would eventually return to haunt them both , hence the need to open up to each other.
She said , “ In the first place, it is unwise for a partner to borrow money without letting their partner know . But if the deed has been done , they should not struggle alone .
“ You have to be honest with your partner . Even if they are shocked at first and angry , they will come around and show commitment to paying off your debt so you both can get back on the right track . ”
Adebowale added that lending money to family and friends could sometimes lead to trouble.
“ Lending money to your relatives , especially without your partner’ s knowledge or consent is disastrous to the marriage. Some relatives might not pay back on the agreed date and if the amount was significant, it might affect the family’ s financial goals .
“ Of course, it may not sometimes be easy to draw a parallel when it comes to lending to family members, but it is important to carry one’ s spouse along. Remember, your money does not belong to only you again, ” she said .
Ignorant about your partner’s finances
Trattner said in an ideal world , partners should always find out about each other’ s financial standing before getting married .
She stated that it was important for couples to be open to each other about their finances to support each other in the attainment of financial goals .
“ It is important to stay aware of each other’ s spending in marriage . If it looks like your partner is spending beyond their means, start asking questions. It is not being nosy; it is being a responsible and caring partner, ” she said .
Relationship coach, Mrs Sharon Lawal , said while it might be impractical to know a partner’ s net worth before marriage, it was ideal to know their monthly income.
“ This knowledge would help to plan and set financial goals together, ” she said .
Not making time for financial talks
A finance expert at one of the investment banks at Victoria Island , Lagos , Mr Kola Oni, said most couples usually waited until it was too late to start discussing money .
He said relationships could only thrive on regular, calm and honest talks about money, advising couples to schedule either weekly or monthly discussions on it .
“ Couples should regularly discuss money, including expenses , incomes, savings and investments . I believe this is one of the best things a couple can do to attain financial stability .
“ Perhaps there are many couples who have never talked about these issues ; I think it is wrong . When couples talk about everything, including money, it would help them plan their lives well, ” he said .
When having financial talks, Trattner said it was important to try to keep emotions at bay. She said when anger, blame and resentment entered money discussions , both parties would suffer and their objective of discussion destroyed.
“ Money talks should never be used to hurt each other; they are intended to help you move forward together,” she said .
Newman said overspending was a classic relationship quandary, especially if one of the partners was inherently a saver and the other a spender .
“ This happens more when one person earns more than the other. The earner resents the spender and vice - versa, ” she said .
To ease the stress of not having a misunderstanding on spending , the finance expert suggested that couples should agree to a certain level of saving, such as between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of their combined income.
“ If that threshold is being met , then the overspending may not be an issue , ” she said .
In addition, relationship coach , Pastor Kehinde Olaoluwa, said it was important for couples to set saving and spending rules.
He said , “ Once you marry , there is nothing like this is my money or this is her money . Now, you both own your income. Ideally, you should both save a certain agreed percentage of your income.
“ Also, you should both agree on how much you spend on personal items like clothes, make- up , etc . Of course , there are some items you do not need to buy every month .
“ Lastly , there should also be a budget for household items such as food. The truth is , once couples see each other ’s income as their income and not what they can spend the way they like , the better for them. ”
Rushing into a joint account
According to Trattner , many couples are able to streamline their finances by opening a joint bank account . She , however, said this might not work for everyone .
She said , “ Early in a marriage , you may want to open a shared bank account for household expenses and common goals , but caution is needed. It does not work for everyone .
“ If you break up or one partner steals from the other , sorting things out may be difficult. ”
Trattner stated that keeping finances entirely separate could also be a bad idea . “ Referring to money as ‘mine ’ and ‘ yours’ rather than ‘ ours’ can quickly open a rift, ” she noted .
Rather than have entirely separate accounts or a joint account , Trattner suggested having one shared account to pool resources together and then separate accounts.
In addition, the finance expert said thinking one could change one’ s partner’ s bad money habits was unnecessary once the necessary rules were set.
She said , “ If your mate was terrible at saving or was extremely thrifty before you got married , those habits will not suddenly disappear after the wedding day.
“ Expecting this to happen or assuming that you will be able to change your spouse ’s ways will lead to major disappointment.
“ The key to a successful financial partnership is to understand each other’ s habits and money outlook before getting serious and committing to working together to build better habits and a solid financial future. ”