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Setting Financial Boundaries In Your Marriage

hands holding us dollar bills

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Welcome to part two of the “Boundaries Series”. If you are late to the party please check out the first part of the series “Establishing Boundaries With Family In Your Marriage.”  This part of the series will focus on financial boundaries in your marriage.

Now let’s get into it why don’t we. Other than family, money is probably the next big area to establish boundaries in. I know, I know, it is said that money is one of the most uncomfortable things to talk about. But it doesn’t have to be!

Money is important, it is how you will provide for your family, yet when two people have two very different viewpoints of money it can become tricky, sticky, and sometimes down right frustrating.

Here are my top 5 boundaries you and your spouse should establish in your finances.

1. Understand the Way Your Partner Views Money

The way you and your partner value money is often based on how you were raised. Therefore, the first step in creating boundaries is understanding the way your partner views money. 

Sometimes one partner may be more frivolous or irresponsible than the other partner when spending money. On the other hand, the other partner may be considered “up tight” or strengiant with their money. 

This all stems from how they observed money being used growing up. Whatever your differences may be, you need to be understanding and find common ground. 

If you have a partner who was raised where money was being spent irresponsibly, then talk to your partner about why you should save money, and budget, and why it’s important to discuss spending habits.  

If you have a hard time spending money on things, include a “fun” category in your budget, this way when you spend you have already put the money aside for those things. 

Discussing money before marriage is highly recommended, this way you can have those important discussions before you say I do. 

2. Budget Together

Knowing how much money you have going in and out is a huge reality check for anyone. I’ve seen too many times before where one spouse is doing the budget by themselves, and the other spouse has no idea how much money or bills they really have.

Why is this important? Knowing how much money is available will help you think twice before spending money. Spending money you do not have will frustrate anyone, and when it is done often it can easily put your marriage on the rocks. 

Budgeting together also helps you create a plan to tackle things like credit card debt, and recognize spending habits. For example, you may realize when doing your budget that you have way too many subscriptions or you are paying for a gym membership you never use. 

Write down your finances and keep it in a “bill book”. This way you can see your bills clearly each month and keep track of what was paid and what was not, as well as create financial goals. 

“Write the vision and make it plain. Habakkuk 2:2. 

3. Both Spouses Should Have Access to Money

This sounds very basic, but I have heard too many times that a spouse has to “ask” the other spouse for money. This is truly baffling!

Now let me clarify, some married couples have separate accounts and if one spouse is low on cash in their account they may need to ask the other for extra cash for simple things like gas. I’m not referring to this at all because in this scenario both partners have access to money, one just needs a little extra.

I’m referring to one spouse that has access to all the financial accounts, debit cards, cash, etc, while the other spouse has no access to money at all without asking the other for it. 

This is a red flag! As a matter of fact this is a sign of financial abuse. Click here to read more about signs of financial  abuse in your marriage

If you do not have access to any money this is not ok, and quite frankly it is dangerous. You need to have money in case of an emergency and just simply to take care of yourself.

If you and your spouse decide to either have joint, or separate accounts is up to you both. As long as each partner has consistent access to money for basic needs, and wants this is ok.

4. Discuss Large Financial Decisions Before You Make Them

Depending on our budget, a “large” financial decision can mean different things for everyone. Therefore, to determine what a large financial decision is, you need to talk to your partner about what is considered a large amount of money.

For example, you and your partner decide that $100 is a considered a large amount after looking at your budget. So if you are at the store and you see a cute handbag that is $150, then you would need to talk to your partner before making that purchase.

Having a set amount helps prevent arguments about spending, and it prevents putting you and your spouse in a tight spot. 

5. Pay the Bills Together

Some may not see this as a big deal but let me set the record straight this, it is a big deal!

My husband has worked in banking for several years and he tells me all the time about situations where one spouse has passed away, or is severely sick and the other partner has no idea how to pay the bills, or what bills need to even be paid.

This can cause bills to go behind and can put your finances in a bad spot. Knowing the passwords to different bill companies is important. Make sure there is a specific place that you write the user names and passwords down so that you can pay the bills if necessary. 

This also leads into another boundary, about bills…

Make sure you are an authorized user

Making sure you are an authorized user for all the bills is important. Often bill companies will not even discuss account details or allow you to make payments it if you are not an authorized user. 

You do not have to have your name on the bill to be an authorized user. An authorized user gives the company permission to discuss the bill with you and give you any information you may need to take care of payments. 

Not paying the bills together can also lead to dishonesty when bills get behind. Be transparent and honest about your finances and your financial situation. Hiding the truth only makes it worse.

Final Thoughts

Being open and honest about your finances is key in a successful marriage. Don’t let the money mystery be the reason that your marriage is failing. Tackling money and finances together takes the pressure off one spouse and creates collaborative effort. 

If you enjoyed this post or would like to add your personal thoughts please comment below.

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