Do you and your spouse share the same attitude towards money?
05 March 19  /  Insights

Disagreement about money is one of the main sources of marital tension and often cited as a leading factor in divorce. That’s why we advocate handling household finances together, so that both spouses are fully aware of the financial picture.

You may already take a ‘divide and conquer’ approach to other household tasks, such as one partner taking the kids to school and the other picking them up; or one partner managing recycling and bins, and the other doing the weekly shopping. Here, we list five ways to ensure you and your spouse manage finances together and maximise your money’s ‘return on life’:

Be open and honest
Don’t wait till a crisis occurs, such as an unexpected household emergency or major car repair, to have a discussion about money. Finding out, in the stress of the moment, that you have a radically different approach to spending can only lead to argument. Instead, right from the start, sit down and review your finances with your spouse, agreeing on a monthly budget and an amount you can save for the future to take care of a rainy day.

Understand cash flow
Even if one spouse takes care of the actual household payments, make sure both understand the monthly spend. This includes how much money goes on utility bills, mortgage, insurance policies etc., and how much is allocated for such items as groceries, childcare, along with which bills are paid electronically and when payments are due. This way, you’ll both have an appreciation of cash flow and, in the event of an emergency, can both manage household expenses.

Know all assets and liabilities
It’s not a good idea to keep assets and liabilities secret. The truth will out, invariably at the wrong time, causing even more distress and hurt. When you first get together, make sure you both become co-signatories and beneficiaries of all accounts. If there are large individual assets, get the advice of your Financial Advisor as to how they can be combined, and if there are large liabilities, discuss a payment plan so you can avoid a future crisis. It’s all about being transparent.

Agree monthly spend
Rather than the bill payer being the one who always say ‘No, we can’t afford it’, make sure you agree your monthly spend, so you both know what you can and can’t afford. That way, either party can say ‘No’ or ‘Yes’, thereby avoiding issues of control and resentment.

Ask for help
If things are slipping out of control, the best advice is to get some help. There are plenty of apps and websites around to assist with financial planning, giving you a framework to follow, and it’s always a good idea to consolidate your finances, with regular payments so you know what’s leaving your account, and regular savings, so you’re building for the future and avoiding future crises.

If there is a gap between you and your spouse that seems impossible to bridge, we can assist, looking at your attitude to money, where it comes from and how it differs within couples. Our Lifestyle Financial Planner specialises in providing clarity, looking at where you are now, where you want to be and how best to get there: helping you live the lifestyle you want, with the money you have and could have.

To find out more about how Lifestyle Financial Planning can help you, or to speak to a member of the Mathews Comfort team, please call us on 01865 208000 or email info@mathewscomfort.co.uk.

Source: ROLA: Spending: What to do when you and your spouse are not on the same page
 

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Does your attitude to money come from your parents?
26 March 19  /  Insights