Money Management & Military Marriages: Making It Work
“In good times and in bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health …” Most married couples enter into wedded bliss with the intention to hold true to these vows. However, disagreements about money and how it’s managed are some of the top reasons married couples fight, ranking in the top three reasons why people eventually get divorced. Military lenders often try to help ease the financial strain with military loans, but sometimes it’s the way couples work together as a team that really drives them to financial success. That’s why we put together these five tips to help guide you in your money management:
1. Define your financial roles.
Money management is tough by itself, but throw in a deployment and things may get tricky. Marriage is a partnership and you two will need to decide who will pay the bills, balance the checkbook, and stash away money in the savings account. Maybe one of you is more of a math whiz and enjoys number crunching, while the other is better suited for handling vacation planning. Some couples prefer to delegate all the financial responsibilities to one person, while others like to divvy up the tasks. Either way, know your part and work as a team.
2. Create a budget and stick to it.
Work with your spouse to map out a budget. Start by tracking all the money you and your spouse spend in month, and figure out if there are places you can make adjustments so that you can reach your long-term financial goals. Creating a financial roadmap will give you a clear picture of how much money you need each month and help you keep your spending habits in check so you can save for the future.
3. Set goals.
You and your spouse should determine financial goals together and create a plan to get there. This may include smaller milestones (a new appliance, vacation, or home improvement project) or a larger goal (buying a house, new car, or saving for retirement). Setting these financial goals will give you both something to work towards together and ensure there’s no confusion about the use for your nest egg. Then when you’re ready to make a big purchase you can combine your savings with a military loan to get the most for your money.
4. Hold each other accountable.
Be diligent about planning your budget and sticking to it each month and keep each other in check when your spending exceeds your plan. Don’t let overspending spiral out of control. That can lead to resentment and financial trouble for both of you. If one person is regularly going over the budget by making unnecessary purchases, have an agreement that the other will say something.
5. Talk it out.
Once you’ve put the previous steps into action, make sure to have regular discussions with your spouse about the state of your finances and your goals. This is especially important if you’re the one responsible for managing the money. Communication is key if and when a financial problem occurs. Don’t let the issue fester. The best course of action is to discuss the money matter immediately – that way you can both get back on the same financial page and continue working towards your financial goals together.
Money doesn’t have to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. With the right attitude, some planning, and an open line of communication, you can succeed in properly managing your money and making your military marriage thrive.
How do you and your spouse make manage money disagreements and challenges? Have you overcome a marriage-money mishap? Tell us your stories!