15 lessons on money and marriage from couples who have been married 10+ years
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.
Heres 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 were as strong as ever.
2. Dont 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 youre 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 others 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
Dont 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. Dont micromanage the others 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 whats 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
Dont try to hide your spending (large or small). Theyll 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 didnt 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?
- Spend less than you earn (and look for ways that one or both of you can earn more).
- ALWAYS keep some money in reserve.
- Automate your bills and AGGRESSIVELY automate paying off debt and saving for retirement.
- Focus on the Big Wins that will REALLY move the needle on your financial situation.
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?