I was rather intrigued and excited for two young ladies that shared their beautiful engagement rings this week on Facebook and interestingly enough both of them raised this question to their friends, “I have more money in my account than he does. When I get married should I share with him or keep my money separate?”
The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear women raise this issue is a very simple question for them, “What type of financial character does your fiance’ posses?” If they are unable to respond definitively I’m concerned that there is a vital aspect of their relationship and pending marriage that they have yet to discuss. It is disturbing that conflicts regarding finances can contribute to the stress that leads to divorce both before and after the filing process.
Ladies, I appeal to you to build your financial acumen. You need to know just as much about your potential mates ability to earn, sustain, save, invest and gain credit as you do his love of sports, his favorite food or what would sooth him over after a fight.
Of course the first priority is that you are aware of your own behaviors, independent of a relationship. How much do you know about your money, credit, investments, tax advantages, safety nets and opportunities to maximize insurance policies and Roth IRAs? Are you financially equipped before you enter a marriage and is he?
Depending on the state in which you obtain a marriage license be mindful of the laws that apply to couples who enter a union without a prenuptial agreement. Having a financial advisor as a part of your life support team is crucial in securing whatever you may have that could be substantial enough to need adequate protection. This could be really important if you have children from someone other than the person you are marrying. I won’t get into the legalities because that is not my expertise, but I will share some potential options that once you’ve resolved the issue of how much is at stake you are in a better position to determine how it should be managed.
Let’s look at the question with the assumption that there are no major assets involved and all the legalities have been addressed. In my personal opinion couples should determine whom of the two is best suited to maintain the financial accounts or establish that they both will. Some couples are both great with their finances and want to maintain their individual accounts and contribute to the household as they see fit. Others choose to have separate accounts plus a joint account in which they pool a certain amount of their monies together for household expenses. There are couples who opt to keep separate accounts and define which bills are paid by whom based on the variance in income levels. Then there are those that believe their relationship would be better with one account. I believe it is up to each household to determine what works best for them as a couple and what will prevent potential risk to the relationship regarding the misuse and or management of money. Keep in mind, whatever t strategy you choose, if one or both of you lose your job there should be a plan B, and sometimes C & D.
My advice, talk to the person with whom you have to be accountable too for how your money is managed, spent, saved, invested and grown. This is not a discussion for your parents, girlfriends or social media contacts but rather the man you intend to spend the rest of your life. If you are questioning his loyalty and the security of your monies he probably isn’t the right choice. The marriage union will not sustain without trust. If you are hiding things going into it, you are most definitely asking for problems in the future. Finances don’t have to be challenging in your marriage. Make the choice early that money management will be discussed and executed with a respectful plan that works for both of you.
Proverbs 11:28 (Amplified Bible)
He who leans on and trusts in and is confident in his riches will fall,
But the righteous [who trust in God’s provision] will flourish like a green leaf.