Marriage and Money - When Spenders and Savers Unite

Marriage is a wonderful thing, but it can also be a challenging adjustment - especially when it comes to money. Many couples argue about money, and it's even one of the most difficult relationship challenges that people face. In fact, in Fidelity's latest "Couples & Money survey, 44% of respondents said they argued about money with their spouse, and 20% indicated money as their most difficult relationship challenge.

Although money conversations are seldom fun, open communication is the key to a stress-free marriage. If you and your spouse are on different ends of the spending and saving spectrum, it is important to discuss finances early on in your relationship. In my work with clients, I have seen first-hand how important it is for spouses to openly communicate about finances, and even more importantly, to listen to the “why” behind the habits.

Here are three key topics that couples should discuss:


Debt is one of the primary causes of disagreements or even divorce in marriages. More than half of all married couples enter their marriage holding debt, and 40 % report debt as hurting their relationship. If you want a more harmonious relationship with your spouse, working together to pay off debts should be one of your top priorities. One partner usually has a higher debt tolerance than the other, which is typical. But it's essential to not only have an in-depth discussion about both partners' attitudes toward debt but also work together to implement a plan so that there is mutual understanding and acceptance.


If one spouse is a saver and the other is a spender, it can be difficult to find common ground. However, it's important to remember that neither approach is right or wrong, they are just different. Savers often have a solid financial foundation because they're diligent about putting money away for a rainy day. In contrast, spenders may enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle since they don't tend to worry as much about money. Working together to balance the pros and cons of each mindset and compromising on smaller issues help couples create a positive compromise to live by. This can't happen unless they talk about it.


Once you have your saving and spending in balance, budgeting is an important next step. While some people loathe the idea of budgeting, others find that they cannot function without a strict plan. I always encourage individuals and families to create a budget - that is, to have a clear plan and defined goals for how much money enters and leaves the household over a specified period. However, I want to stress that a budget is a strategy and is not meant to be a rigid plan that never changes--rather, it should be likened to a map. The destination remains the same, but the route may diverge as new challenges and opportunities present themselves along the way.

Sometimes all you need is an impartial person to help you address your financial goals, dreams, worries, challenges, misalignments, and more. That's what I am here for. We can work together to narrow your financial goals from general and broad ideas to specific action touchstones and goals. Some of those goals could be retiring early, starting a business, building shared savings and investments, creating a charity, owning, and maintaining a home, or traveling extensively. Not only do I help manage investment portfolios, but I act as a "financial coach" when needed to keep a positive attitude toward money for the long term. Another way to put it is that not only do I want to help my clients get and keep more money - but also achieve a greater sense of fulfillment along the journey. Reach out today to discuss how we can help you develop a solid financial plan.