Marriage

Twenty Powerful Tips for Discussing Money Topics with Your Partner

Throughout our engagement and the first few years of our marriage, Sarah and I never really sat down and had a real conversation about money. We each just more or less followed the pattern we learned from our parents. We dealt with any shared issues that were absolutely required in the briefest way possible. Needless …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

Some Thoughts on Marriage and Financial Problems

Sarah and I argue about politics sometimes. We have different perspectives on a lot of political issues and sometimes that will cause us to have rather vigorous debates on things. I tend to be more concerned about civil liberties than Sarah is, for example, and our different feelings on civil liberties and privacy caused us …

Categories: Marriage

3 Marriage-Saving Approaches to Take if Your Spouse’s Spending is Out of Control

This article was first posted at U.S. News and World Report Money. It’s a common story. One partner in a marriage realizes the value of financial responsibility and starts working in earnest to improve the couple’s financial situation. Meanwhile, the other partner hasn’t had that epiphany and prefers to continue old financial habits. Inevitably, these …

Categories: Marriage

A Few Thoughts on Couples and Spending

This past weekend, Sarah and I enjoyed a “getaway weekend” in the Amana Colonies with another couple that we’ve been friends with for many years. Whenever Sarah and I have a “getaway weekend,” we plan ahead for a budget for that trip, setting a soft limit on how much we’re going to spend on food …

Categories: Communication, Marriage

Six Principles of a Marriage Without Money Fights

During the first three or four years of our marriage, Sarah and I regularly argued about money issues. It never seemed as though there was enough money to pay for everything and, of course, it must be the other person’s fault, so we’d argue. Now? I honestly can’t remember our last argument about money. We …

Categories: Marriage

The Challenge of the “Best” Choice

As I write this article, my three year old son is perched on my lap with my arms around him. He’s playing with one of his favorite toys, a Transformer that’s easy to transition from a fire truck to a robot, and he’s telling me stories about them. He’s happy and safe and secure sitting …

A Few Thoughts About My Wife

It is often said that a major part of success is filling your life with people who encourage your positive growth and your success. Every single success in my life over the past decade or so has been tightly interwoven with the efforts of my wife, Sarah. There is no major success that I would …

Categories: Marriage, Meta

The Single Biggest Benefit of Turning Our Finances Around

Of all of the benefits that have come into our lives due to our commitment to financial responsibility, one has had more of an impact than any other. In fact, I’d argue that it overshadows all of the other ones. What’s that benefit? From what I can tell, Sarah and I have not had a …

Categories: Marriage

Is Minimum Wage Worth It for a Married Couple?

Lacey writes in: “My husband makes about $45K per year working for the state. I make just a hair above minimum wage – $8 per hour – working in the kitchen at a restaurant. I don’t mind the work but I have been wondering whether it makes sense for me to be doing this. After …

Categories: Marriage

Financial Infidelity: A Calm Response

A version of this article appeared previously on US News and World Report Money. The core of any marriage is trust. You are trusting virtually every aspect of your life to your partner and you reasonably expect the same in return. One of the biggest elements of that trust is with money. You work hard, …

Categories: Marriage

Spouse Mishandling Money? Here’s How to Protect Yourself

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have Sarah as a spouse. Whenever we sit down and go through bills together, one or the other of us can explain exactly what each item is on every single bill. There is no “hidden” spending other than the occasional claim of “that’s a gift for …

The Full Family Commitment

I’m going to give you a quick sample of a key sentence or two from several recent reader emails. “Now if I could only get my husband on board.“ “The next stop? Getting the credit cards out of her hands.“ “Now I just need to convince her to stop using the debit card every time …

Categories: Marriage

Honesty and Marriage

It is often said that the root cause of most divorces is money. Countless surveys and studies have shown that when people who are divorcing or facing marital trouble are asked what the problem in their relationship is, it’s money, more often than anything else. I’d argue that money problems are merely the surface of …

Categories: Marriage

Building a Financial Firewall Against Addiction

Carol writes in: My husband is a gambling addict. He also drinks excessively. The problem is that he takes money to feed both of these addictions right out of our checking account. He’ll go for weeks and weeks without gambling or drinking, then he’ll have a rough day at work, call me on the cell …

Categories: Marriage

Four Financial Realities of Being in a Relationship

One of the most common themes I see in questions I receive from readers is an uncomfortable sense of what financial roles are in a relationship. A person lives with someone/is engaged to someone/is married to someone and is unsure about how to handle their partner’s debt/spending/shared purchases. That sentence covers the core of a …

Why Get Married At All? Finances and Cohabitation

Last week, I wrote an article discussing reasons why the idea that men shouldn’t get married for financial reasons was false. In the article, I pointed out several purely financial reasons for men to get married, reasons that applied very well to women as well. Many people responded with the great point that many of …

Why Should a Man Get Married?

I get asked this question all the time, and I think it’s one that’s got enough cultural pressure behind it that it’s worth discussing. From a purely financial standpoint, why should a man get married? Let’s look at the reasons behind this question first. The argument against marriage for men is pretty straightforward. The most …

Categories: Marriage, Parenting

You Can’t Make Someone Be Who You Want Them to Be

Change in another person has to come from within them, not from within you. One of the most regular themes in emails I get from readers is a desire to somehow change the nature of the person they’re married to. “My husband is uninterested in our finances and just wants to buy more gadgets.” “My …

Setting Goals with Your Partner

As I’ve said many times on here, my wife and I have a small handful of major goals that we share going forward in our lives. We both want to eventually live in the country with some wooded area and a small barn. We both want to focus on raising our children as well as …

Categories: Goals, Marriage