Have you ever received just terrible marriage advice? You know, the kind that you try out and it fails miserably?
Finances for married couples can be a tricky topic. Mostly because money is a very personal topic, and what works for person might not work for another.
There’s a lot of bad marriage advice out there, and some of the worst of it is financial advice.
Why is it some of the worst?
As I talked about in the secret to navigating money fights, money can be a very emotional and sensitive topic. Especially in a marriage. Because in a marriage, the financial decisions made can affect both of you.
My bet is this post is going to ruffle some feathers. Mostly because advice about money is very much like advice about kids: you feel like you’re doing exactly what you feel is right. And anyone who says something’s off about something as big as kids or money can put you on the defense pretty quickly.
So what are some of the worst pieces of financial advice you can get as a married couple? Let’s dig in.
1. Keep separate banking accounts
This is the notion of the husband and wife having their own banking accounts. So their paychecks go into their own accounts, they spend out of their own accounts.
Everything is separated.
Why is this bad?
Keeping your accounts separate adds a layer of privacy to your marriage. And while privacy can sound like a good thing sometimes, it can create a toxicity in a relationship.
Joining banking accounts can give you another sense of togetherness in a marriage, which can be a powerful thing. In a survey of 1,000 married couples, 65% of couples who had a joint banking account were reportedly happier in their marriage.
2. Don’t talk about debt before you get married
Some may give this advice because they think it is none of your partner’s business about your debt until after you’ve become one in marriage.
I can agree with this if you are just dating and you are private about your finances. But it is absolutely imperative to talk about your debt before you get married.
The togetherness aspect that I talked about applies to debt as well as building your savings in a joint banking account. Once you become married, you’re fighting through each other’s debts together.
I can just hear someone saying “that’s not fair! I didn’t accrue that debt!”. That’s completely true; you didn’t.
But once you get married, you join together every aspect of your life. Including the bad, which includes debt.
The good thing here is that you’ll be combining income as well, so you can tackle the debt even faster. And become an even stronger couple because of it.
3. You make more than your soon-to-be spouse, so you should have more of a say
RED FLAG ALERT. RED FLAG ALERT. DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS.
I’m literally cringing right now, thinking about someone giving this piece of advice. But I can guarantee you it’s given, and probably more often than you’d think.
Listen. When you’re married, it’s not “his” and “hers”. There’s only “ours”. So one of you could make $100,000 a year and one of you make $20,000. But you both have an equal say in the family’s finances.
Otherwise, where’s the unity in this marriage?
The amount each of you makes does not dictate how loud of a voice you get in your marriage.
You both get a say-so about your financial future. You both get to decide how much money to allocate to different budget categories. And you both have an equal voice.
4. It’s not a big deal to have a secret account for just you
Someone could give you this advice because you “deserve to have some independence”, or maybe because you feel like you’re bad with money. They might say it’s not that big of a deal.
But it is. According to a poll taken by creditcards.com, about 6 million people in the USA are hiding accounts (bank accounts or credit cards) from their spouses.
I can’t even tell you how dangerous this is.
Most people see this as financial infidelity. And about 27% view this as worse than cheating (and 30% believe it’s the same).
Hiding money and/or accounts from your partner leads them to wonder what else is being hidden from them. And with good reason, since money is such an emotional and sensitive topic!
Have you struggled with the topic of finances, especially when it comes to married couples? What bad financial advice have you received? Or have you taken some advice and realized it was wrong for your marriage?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments!