Foremost among the reasons that lead to marital discord are financial issues. Most couples are unable to or find it extremely difficult to broach the topic openly and honestly. Although the reasons may be different for each couple, being disorganized and unable to communicate are common.
In order to avoid serious consequences it is necessary to for couples to implement the art of budgeting and money management. Couples should avoid conflict over purchases made by each other and learn to respect each other’s opinions.
The initial step is to sit down and discuss the income and expenditure. If there is a lack of communication, which is the case most of the time, this discussion could end in a heated argument. It is important to decide on a strategy before hand, to prevent an ugly situation. For example, get up and drink a glass of water, take a few deep breaths and go for a short walk and then resume the dialogue or invite a friend to be a part of the discussion.
Make a list of all the bills that are pending and the amounts, highlighting the dates on which they need to be paid. Compare this with the joint income and in case of inadequate funds, try to find ways to reduce expenditure or increase income.
Document all facts and figures so that they are easily available to your partner. Make a separate file for documents and papers related to insurance payments, credit card statements, car installments, monthly mortgage, utility bills and expenses. Remove them from the file only when they are paid. Decide on a common place accessible to both, to keep checkbooks, receipts and all relevant financial information. If there have been withdrawals from the joint account, each partner should let the other know the reason.
Such discussions should be scheduled regularly. Financial planning should be an essential part of the discussions. Financial issues become stressful if not handled with care. Make a plan to ensure that both of you take turns to maintain checkbooks, file taxes and track investments. This will allow each partner to be aware of the financial details. Discuss and create a budget to suit both of you.
Try to visualize finances for the next five or ten years. Large amounts of money are required for buying a house or a new car. The different ways in which you could save for these purchases should be discussed openly.
When you set your goals, devise a strategy to achieve them. The plans would mainly comprise of eliminating debt and setting up a savings plan. One excellent way would be to save a certain percentage of the monthly income in a tax deferred account. You can also save and invest in securities and bonds.
Financial mismanagement is generally a key factor in wrecking a happy marriage. In order to keep finances on the right track, proper communication is essential. Regular discussions and mutual decisions on the family budget and savings are sure ways to maintain the harmony among couples.
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