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15 lessons on money and marriage from couples who have been married 10+ years

We asked long-time married couples to share their best advice on money and marriage. Here’s the advice they offer to others.

We asked members of the IWT community who have been married at least 10 years (aka “forever” in Hollywood years) to share their advice on money and marriage.

Here’s what they said:

1. Make sure you have chemistry when it comes to money

“Marry someone with the same values and everything else just works out. 27 years of marriage and we’re as strong as ever.”

2. Don’t try to change the other person

“Do not attempt to change your spouse’s spending/savings habits. People rarely, if ever, change.”

3. Talk openly with each other about where you’re starting from financially

“I like the term financially naked. We were very upfront with each other from the beginning about what we had and how much we owed.”

4.  Understand the other’s money mindset

“Understand where you both are on the spender-saver/nerd-free spirit quadrant. Play to each of your strengths and learn from each other.”

5. Talk about money — A LOT

“Talk about money often. It should be a routine part of your relationship, and not a point of pride for one person or another.”

6. Have frequent money dates to stay on the same page

“We meet each Sunday to go over the upcoming schedule, meals, travel, budget, gifts, house, family, and friends. Talking about our money each week as part of our household planning makes it much less stressful and scary.”

7. Make big financial decisions TOGETHER

“Be equal partners in all major financial decisions. It’s not the lattes that impact your family’s financial health, it’s the big financial decisions.”

8. Find a financial division of labor that feels right to you

“Don’t assume the person with the most ‘knowledge’ is best in practice. Once I realized [my husband] was good at making money but horrible at spending it, things turned around for us financially.”

9. Make sure you both know the important stuff

“I handle the daily and keep my husband updated with the monthly snapshot and how long-term goals are shaping up. I have a sheet of financial info so he can step in should that be necessary. He has a finance degree, but he needs to know which accounts are where, ya know?”

10. Don’t micromanage the other’s spending habits

“Work toward agreed upon financial goals but do not let that block either partner from the dreams and hobbies they would have pursued on their own. Also known as: why my husband has more than one chainsaw, even though I think that is ridiculous.”

11. Maintain separate Passion Funds for your personal interests

“Create a ‘Passion Fund’ for each partner and be disciplined about filling it up. My passion is travel. Hers is home improvement. Having the money to enjoy those passions has kept resentment at bay and our marital satisfaction high.”

12. Set ground rules for what gets discussed, and what’s Guilt-Free Money

“Each person gets weekly cash you can do anything with, no questions no judgement. Beyond that, if it’s under $100 go ahead without discussion. If it’s over $100 the other can veto.”

13. DO NOT hide your spending from your spouse

“Don’t try to hide your spending (large or small). They’ll find out eventually. Then you lose trust and it takes time to earn it back.”

14. Lean on each other when times get rough

“I found out my husband had $40K in credit card debt. I didn’t have a job, so I took a job at Starbucks and helped him. Two years later, we were debt-free.”

15. Make sure you have the money fundamentals mastered

A final piece of money and marriage advice that our couples enjoying 10+ years of marriage recommended: make sure you have the financial basics down cold.

What are those basics?

And if money is something that you and your partner are just now starting to figure out, why not learn together?

In fact, why not start now?

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  1. avatar
    Susan Snyder

    This is the best "How to do money with your Honey" type of post I've ever seen. I wish I had known this before I married and divorced someone with very different money values. We didn't know what to look out for!

    And now I work in the finance industry.. (God/The Universe has a sense of humor.)

  2. avatar

    We haven't been married for 10+ years, but we had a unique situation which made for a steep learning curve to learnt all the lessons mentioned above.

    I was deep in $20k consumer debt when I got into a long distance relationship with my partner. At the second month of our relationship as we were pulling out spreadsheets to plan plane tickets and hotel stays, I knew I had to come clean.

    It wasn't easy (my partner grew up frugal and hates any form of financial commitment), but I showed him I was serious about killing my debt and he supported me (and times, pushed me beyond what I feel I'm capable of). A year and a half later, we went from long distance to a live-in relationship, which means, again, learning about communicating financial needs, expectations and wants – fast.

    I can say what has helped us is always, asking ourselves the question – "What do you want for you, what do I want for me, and, what do we want for both of us?" and trying to answer all those questions together.

  3. avatar


    You absolutely nailed it! I have so much I would like to say, but those are personal details and not for this venue. Still, it's safe to say I have plenty of experience with the topic here (as a service provider and as part of a couple), and the accuracy and simplicity of your list needed to be praised.

    Well done!

  4. avatar

    This is a ready-made guide for any one. I have tried few tips from this content & it seems to take both of us in the right path. Kudos !!

    – Priyan

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  6. avatar
    Lisa Jordie

    This was a fantastic read. Thank you for writing this! It means a lot coming from a newlywed with a spouse with very different spending habits from mine.

    I'm in my first year of marriage and really connected with the 'Passion Fund'' idea. I love the idea that ultimately, you both get to benefit from the examples you gave (travel and home improvement.)