Financial Communication Key to a Happy Marriage
Marriage advice isn’t something you’d normally expect to hear from Mike Losneck, the CEO at Eaton Family Credit Union. He’s normally pretty reserved.
“Communication really is key to a happy marriage,” Losneck said, “and that includes talking about money. Couples love talking about their future together and exciting vacation plans, yet avoid the tougher conversations.”
Losneck said 91 percent of Americans said they actively find reasons to avoid discussing money with their partners, citing an American Express Spending and Saving Tracker poll.
A Money Magazine poll found four out of five spouses believe they’re on the same page as their partner when it comes to money, but 22 percent of husbands and wives have spent money they didn’t want their partner to know about.
Money Magazine’s poll also found 70 percent of couples report fighting over money. These arguments focus mainly on frivolous spending, savings, deceit, and exclusion from decisions.
Disagreeing about money significantly increases your chance of divorce, Losneck said.
A Utah State University poll found couples who reported disagreeing about money at least once a week were more than 30 percent more likely to divorce than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.
“It’s difficult enough for a single person to stay on top of budgeting, spending and paying bills, Losneck said. “Finances become that much more challenging as a married couple.”
Losneck offers the following tips to have a healthy financial discussion with your significant other:
Talk early: Discuss possible financial concerns before they become a problem. Emotions will be lower, creating conditions more conducive to a constructive conversation, rather than a fight.
Keep emotions at bay: Money is an emotional topic. Most people have opinions about what they earn, spend and save – and it can be difficult to see another point of view. Try to stick to the facts of the topic and be prepared for his or her emotional response. Be sure to acknowledge how the topic makes him or her feel and to explain how it makes you feel. Remember that if you both remain calm, you’ll be able to reach a resolution more effectively.
Ask for your partner’s input: You may feel confident you know the best way to handle your household’s money, but it’s important to remember your finances are a team effort. Ask for your partner’s input even if he or she isn’t volunteering it. Your significant other might have a point of view you hadn’t considered, and it’s important that you both feel a valuable part of your home’s finances.
Hiding doesn’t help. Open up completely about whatever financial topic you’re discussing. Don’t try to hide purchases or lie about financial mistakes you’ve made. The more transparent you are, the more both your finances will benefit.
Get help. Credit unions are member-owned and are dedicated solely to service. They can provide expert advice to couples, whether they’re just starting out or need to get on better financial footing.
Eaton Family Credit Union is a nonprofit, member-owned financial cooperative serving Members who live, work, worship or go to school in Lake or Cuyahoga counties, Ohio, as well as employees of our Select Employer Groups. Learn more about us at www.eatonfamilycu.com
Dave Godek, MBA
Business Development Manager
Eaton Family Credit Union