4 Financial Issues to Consider When Searching for a Spouse
- Megan Pacheco Chief Learning Officer, Lead Like Jesus
- 2013 9 Sep
There is a myth going around that love alone is enough.
This myth makes you believe that as long as the two of you are “in love,” you can conquer pretty much anything. This myth also makes you ignore certain, very destructive habits and behaviors that have been wrecking what seemed to be some of the strongest marriages.
So, this is for those of you who are single, but hope to find that special “someone” soon. If you pay close attention to these four financial issues and behaviors you will greatly increase your chances for the “happily ever after” ending.
A few years ago the University of Virginia released some very interesting findings in their “Marriage and Money” report:
- They confirmed that rising consumer debt after couple’s wedding contributed to the instability of the union.
- Couples who reported disagreeing about finances more than once a week were 30 percent more likely to divorce, than couples who reported disagreeing about finances only a few times a month.
Another statistic from the USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll stated that spending too much and saving too little is the most common issue that causes strife among married couples.
So why is this important to all of you who are on the hunt for Mr. or Mrs. Right? Because money issues are some of the highest contributing factors in marriage breakups, and you still have time to do something about it! Let’s get started.
Today’s college students graduate with an average of $26,600 in student loan debt. Combine that with other credit card debt, auto loan debt and a bleak job market and you have a disaster ready to happen.
Understanding each other’s debt ratios is extremely important before you say, “I do.” Don’t wait to have this important conversation after the fact. If you’re dating someone and consider him or her a potential spouse, you need to begin the culture of financial transparency now. Understanding the numbers behind each other’s debt can help you put boundaries in place now so you can start eliminating your debt and begin your marriage on a healthier, less leveraged financial footing.
Is credit his/her best friend?
Watching how your potential future spouse treats credit cards is extremely important. Impulsive spending, living for today and hoping to pay for the lifestyle tomorrow should be a warning sign of things to come. Do you know how many credit cards your future spouse has? Do you know the balance they owe? Are you ready to take on that credit card debt as part of your marriage deal? Talking about the use of credit is very important before you tie the knot. Simple guidelines like paying the balance off every month or having a clear strategy to pay the debt off and having full transparency when it comes to using credit should be discussed sooner than later.
Spender, Saver or Hoarder? Do you know each other’s money personalities?
We all have a “financial personality” and knowing each other’s money personality will help you understand and work though the financial issues that will sooner or later surface. Is he or she shopping a lot? Do they follow a spending plan? Are they paying their bills on time, every time? How often do they say “no” under social pressure to spend money? If you pay close attention you’ll quickly find out what natural tendencies your special someone has – which will ultimately be the same tendency they will bring into your marriage.
Saving for the future
Ignoring the importance of saving and being financially prepared for a “rainy day” can cause enormous financial pressure in marriage. Pay close attention to the ability to live within an income by spending less and saving the rest. Do you know that, on average, American’s spend 5.7% of their annual income on restaurants and only 2.6-3% of their income goes to savings? Talk with your potential future spouse about their saving habits. Are they thinking and planning ahead? Are they pursuing financial short and long-term goals or simply living from paycheck-to-paycheck hoping that the future will take care of itself?
You see, the issue is not how much your potential spouse has or does not have. The real issue is, do they understand the basic financial laws and principles that govern our lives? Such principles include:
- Spending less than we make and investing the rest
- Having sufficient financial reserves
- Saying no to immediate gratification
- Understanding the dangers of easily accessible credit
Since money issues are some of the highest contributing factors in marriage breakups, cherish the fact that you still have time to do something about it! Here is to your “Happily Ever After!”
Megan Pacheco is one of the new additions to the Finicity (provider of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching) team. She comes with over 13 years of experience in the Biblical Finances area. Her content has been published by Money Matters, Do Well and Lifeway's More than Living. She is a mom of two young boys, and lives with her husband David in the Atlanta area.
Publication date: September 16, 2013