What Happens To Your Money When You´re Married?

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Marriage and money are hard to talk together. Why?

Because we don’t like to think about our relationship’s viability being contingent on our financial fitness. We love to believe in love, and indeed we can.

Love is a muscle we exercise to overcome challenges, finance is one of the greatest challenges we will have. The reality is that Marriage is like a business in many ways.

Like any business, marriages without sound finance tend to fail over time. So, what can you do?

money in marriage

Marriages and Businesses

If you don’t have money to put food on the table, if you don’t have money that ensures the security and the future of the marriage then the marriage is going to be stressed.

It is more likely that it is going to fail. Here are some statistics on business and marital failure:

  • 10% of marriages fail in the first two years.
  • 20% of businesses fail in the first two years.  
  • In the first five years, 20% of marriages fail.
  • 40% of businesses fail in the first five years

Note that though more businesses fail, that both marriage and business failures double from year two to year five. Why the higher fail rate for businesses?

Businesses are measured almost exclusively on their financial success. Marriages presumably run on love, and involve two people rather than a single owner and so have a lower fail rate and higher resilience.

Marriage and Money

Given those facts, you would think there would be no correlation. As we consider how people in relationships think about and handle money the picture gets clearer. 

  •  70%  of all Americans have less than $1,000 saved in the bank. 
  • Think about this nearly half of Americans who are married or living with a partner say they argue with the person over money.

If 70% of all Americans have less than $1,000 saved and 48% of people who are married say they’re arguing about it.

What’s happening with the other 22%? Are they blissfully ignorant?

I mean, what’s the deal? There’s a lot of information on this and pulling it apart is tricky but the statistics themselves tell a story about how couples think about money and marriage.

Financial Decision Making In Marriage

UBS recently surveyed couples and found that when you ask them if they share the financial decision-making the overwhelming majority of both men and women said that they do so 99% of men that they shared in the financial decision making 92% of women said they do as well.

That’s pretty cool, right? However, when pressed for details a different picture emerged. 

Who Manages Money In Marriages?

In couples of every age group are millennials up to World War the World War II generation men tend to manage the investments while women take care of paying the bills and together they make decisions on things like buying a house.

Now, that is not the same thing as shared awareness and shared responsibility, even though women are handling one part of the finance and men are handling another how much discussion and understanding goes on between them?

Remember that 48% of couples are fighting about money and 40% of divorces are driven by financial strife.

Some more statistics:

  • 70% of men are Breadwinners according to one survey. 
  • Of the female Breadwinners, 43% said they leave the financial decisions to their husbands.
  • 40% of couples where men make most of the decisions, women often report that they feel uninformed and they tend to worry more about whether they will have enough money in retirement. 

 That makes perfect sense when you consider that men are mostly handling that side of the relationship and if there isn’t transparency about what decisions are being made or why they’re being made, then of course, there’s a concern. 

Marriage and money

Planning and Transparency

Could it be that bad planning and lack of transparency are impacting marriages?

Just like a business, money is a big part of a relationship’s success or failure. We like to think of marriage as being about love and spirituality and connection to one another and family and the greater good but if that financial base isn’t secure the relationship isn’t.

The only way through is to run your marriage with financial transparency and financial clarity.

Businesses and marriages fail due to poor communication, planning, and ineffective management. Take a financial inventory of your marriage today as a first step to getting back on a financially even keel.

Learning how to nurture your marriage will help your financial planning and communication as well.