7 steps to Stop Financial Problems in Marriage

Financial problems in marriage can start before you’ve even walked down the aisle. And they can quickly build into major issues that you see no way out of.

That’s why it’s so important, right from the start, to think about and talk honestly about, how to manage finances in your marriage.

When two people agree to become married, they often open up a joint account and agree to share their money.

If you do this, you need to be very careful as some people can enter into a marriage with a lot of debt, or others could have spending habits that make it difficult for you to plan for the future.

When you are dealing with joint accounts, you need to be able to focus on having communication with your spouse, and the two of you need to learn how to manage your money together.

You have to work on this all the time, or it can lead to marital problems.

One of the biggest reasons why people get divorced is directly related to money problems.

How can financial problems affect a marriage?

Money is cited as one of the leading reasons for divorce. But before you get as far as divorce there are many other ways your marriage is impacted:

  • Arguments
  • Distrust
  • Resentment
  • Stress
  • Losing your home
  • Debt recovery action
  • Losing your job

In order to avoid getting divorced and ensure that you are not going to struggle financially, you need to take active steps. Never presume things will work out without you taking action.

wedding rings on dollar bills to show financial problems in marriage
You need to know how to manage finances in a marriage from the get go

7 Best Steps to Stop Financial Problems in Marriage happening to you

Step # 1 – Set a budget

One spouse may love to spend, and another may be great at saving. This is nice as it does assist in balancing out your marriage.

It is important, however, that you both sit down together and learn how to create a budget for your money. One that you both sign up to and agree to follow.

Make sure to allow for some fun money in your budget. This is guilt free spending money that you both should have. Free to spend on whatever you want with no questions asked.

It doesn’t have to be much, when my husband and I lived on one income we still had $50 a month each to ourselves. So important for martial harmony – believe me.

A good budget will stop many financial problems in marriage before they start. Your budget will be able to reign in the spender and allows you both to plan for your future.

Get your budget right and instead of borrowing to pay for things like furniture, you can easily pay for furniture outright, thanks to your strong budgeting habits.

Having a budget will prevent you from getting into debt, and it will allow you to prepare for your children’s needs as well.

Try to use the cash envelope system instead of using credit cards to buy groceries and other things. This will prevent you from spending too much money.

Related posts: How To Fix Budgeting Mistakes Right Now – 5 Simple Steps

Step # 2 – Get an income

To avoid having marital issues, you need to get a job! You need to have money coming in to provide for all the needs that your family has.

I can almost guarantee that financial problems in marriage will rear up very quickly if unemployment and social security are involved.

Those are the kind of financial stress that can kill a marriage very quickly.

In some marriages, a single income is enough to pay for your needs. In other marriages, both spouses will need to work to sustain their lifestyle.

Sit down with your spouse and go over your situation and determine what you are both comfortable with.

As you do this, you can easily find out how much money you need to make and look for a career that will be able to provide you with a comfortable lifestyle.

Step # 3 – Pay off debt

A big concern in marriage is debt. It is vital that you pay off debts as quickly as possible. Having too much debt is a headache, and it places a big financial strain on the marriage.

You may both become angry with one another, and it’s likely that you blame each other for the struggles with debt.

The best thing that you can do is to set up a plan as to how you will pay off debt.

Getting yourself out of debt is the best thing you can do for your marriage and your financial situation.

Learn to live within your means and within your budget.

Make sure you are not opening new credit card accounts and that you are not charging up the ones that you do have.

If you cannot control your spending and you keep adding to the debt, cut up your credit cards! Seriously do!

A credit card is a DEBT card unless you pay it off in full every month.

2 heart shaped leaves on money to show financial problems in marriage
How should married couples split finances?

Step # 4 – Make it equal

In marriage, One of the hardest conversations to have is about how should married couples split finances. In the ideal world you want everything to be equal.

But life and jobs aren’t equal.

It is important that you look at the bills and all the things that you need to pay for and to divide everything in a way that works best for you both.

Both spouses need to be accountable, not one person being forced to pay for everything.

But also if one has a much bigger income, is it fair they pay the same amount as the partner who only earns a small income, perhaps only working part time?

This discussion is all about trying to make things as equal as possible given potentially very different incomes.

When things are equal, you will be able to avoid dealing with the issue of which person makes more and the little fights that this can cause.

Step # 5 – Communicate often

Sit down weekly with your spouse and go over the budget. You both need to be involved and to know where your finances are at.

Communicate with each other often about the finances, and both of you need to be involved instead of one person managing them all the time.

It’s okay to have someone who is the CEO of your money. Someone who organizes the bills to be paid on time, to set up everything on auto payments.

But they should be the manager, not the sole decision maker.

Step # 6 – be honest

As the saying goes:

Honesty is the best policy

Whether it’s your finances or another topic, honesty is how you keep your relationship working and on the right track.

Secret spending and secrecy as regards to what you earn or what debt you have are the kind if financial problems in marriage that can lead straight to divorce.

None of us are perfect, we all have our off days. Our days where we blow the budget, buy something on impulse. This is you being human.

Talk to your spouse, let them know when you’ve had a blip, likewise when you’ve been extra good. Honesty is not just about confessing something negative. Share your wins!

Step # 7 – Discuss your future

What your finances look like when you are newly married are very different from a few years down the road. It might be fine initially to split all bills equally as your income is similar.

But what about having kids? How are you going to organize your finances then?

Who’s going to be responsible for what bills? Will one of you want to b a stay at home parent?

You don’t need to rush into decisions but it’s wise to talk about future plans. Children, where you live, what you want to achieve in life. All things that can impact your finances.

All things that you might think very differently about to your spouse.

man and woman in black with backs to each other to show how to manage finances in a marriage
Debt often causes financial problems in a relationship

4 financial problems in marriage you want to avoid

How do you deal with money issues in marriage? Ideally you want to deal with them before they become and issue and start affecting your marriage.

Knowing the potential problems and being wise to them will help you avoid them becoming a problem for you.

1. bringing debt into marriage

Debt is something we all face at some point or other, whether that’s bad debt like credit cards, or good debt like a mortgage.

One of the major money imbalances in relationships is when one person is a free spender who thinks nothing of having thousands in debt. Whilst the other is a saver and careful never to go overdrawn.

When one person brings debt in to a marriage, it can upset your relationship before it has had a chance to mature.

All debt needs to be on the table and known about before you get married. And of course the ideal is to have it paid off before you do marry. That way you are starting a fresh.

2. hiding purchases

This money issue is so common! Often it goes unnoticed, especially if you are not tracking what you spend as a couple and checking how your budget is working.

Making secret purchases goes against being honest. Sure you might not lie, but you’re withholding the truth if your partner isn’t aware of how your secret spending is affecting your joint budget.

3. different money mindsets

They say opposites attract, and this is often true when it comes to money. Savers attract spenders. It can be a recipe for disaster if the spender keeps spending and the saver becomes very resentful.

Stop this from becoming a financial problem by budgeting, being honest, talking about your money and ensuring the spender has some fun money to spend guilt free.

4. Future financial expectations

Not talking about your future lifestyle, what you want to achieve, how you want to live your life can store up trouble for you both.

You may have very different ideas on where you want to live, the size of your house, how many vacations etc.

The big one for many couples of course is children. According to the USDA the cost of raising a child can be as much as $233, 610.

Part of that cost is childcare which is the crux of many a relationship discussion. Does one of you become a stay at home parent or work part time to fit around part time childcare?

Nice to do, but how is it going to affect your joint budget, how you pay your bills, how you save for your future?

Good questions to talk about and find answers to BEFORE you find out you’re expecting a baby.

Start taking back control of your money by grabbing your copy of the Money Saving Starter Guide today.


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Last Updated on 4th April 2023 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

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