It used to be in the old days that men made the money, and then controlled how it was spent. It was all very simple and easy for everyone to understand, though clearly not fair for the wife. Things have changed so much and so fast that new rules for financial decision making in marriage are still being made. Unfortunately, that leaves many couples wondering how best to proceed which in many cases lays the groundwork for financial missteps. Another unfortunate consequence of the new unwritten rules of marital money management, is that couples are forced to take an individual stance regarding financial matters. This article will focus on the male side of the equation.
If you’re male and you are married, you have already likely discovered that you and your wife have some differences of opinion regarding how the money you make, either separately or together should be spent. This is quite natural of course, because there are such a wide variety of options to choose from, and because no two personalities are the same. You’ve also perhaps discovered that finding a way to resolve your differences more often than not results in neither of you feeling comfortable with your ultimate decision. It’s for these reasons that many couples simply choose to keep a percentage of their income and spending separate, and then to contribute the other portion to a shared pool. This allows both parties to maintain some autonomous control over the money while avoiding contention. It’s a good idea, and one all men should consider.
The problems comes in when one person in a marriage makes more than the other, or when couples choose to share everything, including bank accounts and credit cards.
The best advice any married man can receive, is to never share a credit card with his wife, or let her use his. Obviously this works in both directions, but this article is for men, if it was for women the advice would read in the opposite direction. The reason you should never share credit cards in marriage is because there are so many instances where one person is less responsible with credit and causes debt to accrue, which both parties are then responsible for paying. While this is a bad enough thing, what’s worse is if the couple winds up divorced and both are still liable for all that debt that only one of them actually charged.
The next best advice any man can receive is to put as much money into savings as possible, and then make sure that it’s there for him should the marriage go south. Don’t share IRAs, or other investment vehicles, instead, have one for both of you and set it up in such a way as that they are equal in value for the life of the marriage.
Other than that, try not to get caught up in arguing about money, few things sour a marriage faster than an inability to agree on what to do with your finances.