I was making the rounds of the talk shows last week in Phoenix and Salt Lake City. The topic we were discussing was money and relationships. A survey conducted by Citibank indicated that 57 percent of divorced couples said financial disputes were the primary reason they didn’t get along. In a separate study conducted by Money magazine, 84 percent of the respondents said that money caused a lot of tension in their marriage/relationship. My interviews were directed at advice on how to solve these issues.
A host asked me if I did a lot of counseling over money disputes in my role as a wealth manager. The truth is that this doesn’t come up very often. If couples don’t learn to work together, they will probably never accumulate enough wealth to need an adviser. Surveys show that couples mainly argue over spending and debt. This is because they don’t develop a spending plan (a budget).
The ultimate tool for solving financial tension in your relationship is to become financially independent. This is the point where you don’t have to work any longer for money because your money is now working to support you. This requires careful planning and disciplined spending. Once you reach financial independence, you have already acquired the skills to control spending so that you don’t have to scrutinize every purchase. You don’t have stress at work because you can now choose to work where you want to or choose not to work at all.
Reaching financial independence for a married couple requires both husband and wife to agree on a long term plan. It also requires a short term plan that details how they are going to spend their money over the next twelve months and how much is going to be saved from each paycheck. The accumulated savings will establish first an emergency fund so they don’t go into debt and then long-term investments to build wealth.
Financial independence is worth the effort. Not only for peace of mind but also for peace in your marriage.