If you’re not careful, how you deal with your dollars could determine whether you get divorced. Drake & Associates financial professional, Luke Eskau, joins FOX6 Real Milwaukee with tips for managing money in a marriage.

Start Talking

  • Start the conversation by laying out your individual financial situation and listening to where your partner is at.
  • A recent study shows 43% of couples don’t know their spouse’s salary! Without knowing your household income, it’s impossible to set a realistic budget, which is the backbone of a solid financial plan.
  • When it comes to money and your marriage, ignorance is not bliss! Find a time to sit down and have a serious talk about your financial situation.

Disclose Baggage

  • It can be difficult, but it’s crucial to discuss all your demons with your significant other.
  • This includes outstanding debt – credit cards, student loans, car loans, etc. If you’ve already been married, do you have alimony or child support obligations?
  • This will help set the tone for open and honest conversations about finances throughout your marriage.

Set Ground Rules

  • Now that everything is on the table, come up with a plan of how you will handle your finances.
  • Will you use a joint checking account or separate accounts? Pooling your money helps avoid fights about who pays for what and who makes more money.
  • It also saves time if both people have access to the same money to pay bills. However, a lot of couples like to keep a small side account for things like gifts and discretionary spending.
  • Who will pay back the debt brought into the marriage? It’s important to reach an agreement because even if it’s not your debt, it will impact both of your financial lives moving forward.
  • Set a spending budget for your family.

Stay Honest

  • 7% of people have secret financial accounts – like checking accounts, savings accounts or credit cards their partner doesn’t know about. Almost 20% of people have secretly spent $500 or more.
  • This is frightening to me because financial infidelity can ruin a marriage just the same as sexual infidelity.
  • Keeping financial secrets can lead to arguments and mistrust down the road. It`s better to come clean with your spouse.

Ask for Help

  • If you and your spouse are fighting about money, it may be time to call in reinforcements, like a financial professional who can help the two of you get back on track.
  • You could also ask for help from a trusted family member or a couple’s therapist.