“Wait a second – hold up. You want me to do what? But, it’s MY income. We don’t earn nearly the same amount and so I should be entitled to what’s mine.” “It’s not equal; it’s not fair.” “I worked really hard to get where I am today.”
Have you ever had thoughts like this? I am speaking to newly married or engaged couples that are trying to wrap their head around merging their lives and their bank account into one. It was so much easier when all you had to do was focus on one income and one person – you. Then you started dating. You decided “I want to spend the rest of my life with this other person, but I am not sharing my money.” (Cue vehicle coming to a screeching halt to avoid bumping the car in front).
Notice how the only time the pronoun we is used in the opening line is a negative connotation. In those scenarios, the focus is on the individual. However, when you get married, you become one. Genesis 2:24 reads “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” ESV
I ask: why not? If you are willing to share literally everything else in your life with your significant other, fiancé / fiancée, or new spouse, then why wouldn’t you also share the money? You both had the same goal of getting married, having kids, and building a life TOGETHER not separately.
My wife and I took a premarital course that briefly talked about money with the overall viewpoint of union. Everyone in the panel mentioned that you need to have a joint checking account. Some people suggested that you should have “mad money” or his and her pocket money. I like this idea because you are given permission to freely spend that budgeted amount on whatever you want with no judgment or criticism. The same goes for when your spouse spends his/her money the way he/she wants to – you are absolved from having an input on where the other person’s money should be spent. Hear me when I say this: you must have a budgeted amount every month for each person if you are agreeing to his/her pocket money. Birthday months may get an increase for whoever has the birthday.
Perhaps you are an only child and never had to share anything in your life. This newfound concept will be difficult for you to grasp. However, it is easier to do things together than it is to do it alone. Let’s say you just bought a new 70″ flat screen 4K TV. Would you mount that puppy all by yourself? Of course not! You would want someone else to help you carefully guide the TV to the proper place to ensure that it doesn’t fall and break, right? You should be looking at your finances the same way. You can do it quickly – by yourself. Or, you can go far when you work together.
When you combine your finances, you are enacting trust. Have you been burned in the past? You may be hesitant or resistant due to the betrayal you experienced previously. If you cannot trust your partner, the relationship will not last, period. The trust that is broken is not easily mended. Are you going to make mistakes? Absolutely! That is part of the growing phase within the marriage / relationship. With transparency, you can have a visual representation of where the money is going and if you are on track to achieve your goals together.
If you want to live a better life with your spouse by having a financial discussion with a neutral third party, contact me now!