The purpose of today’s post is to address an essential element of your financial wellness. If you are married or are planning to be married soon, you need to know that the only way to win with your money, is to work together with your spouse. Healthy finances lead to healthy marriages. The number one cause of divorce in North America is money problems and money fights.
So, I have created a short quiz to help you assess where you are as a couple in terms of your finances. It will only take a few minutes to complete it. Scoring instructions and recommendations follow at the end of the post:
- You and your spouse have a standing meeting to discuss your household budget for the month before the month begins.
- Yes. We allocate every dollar to a spending category. (5 Points)
- Yes, but we keep it very high level, focusing only on the major categories. (3 Points)
- Not every month. We get busy sometimes and it gets away from us. (1 Point)
- We don’t need a budget. All the money comes in and it goes out with us having no idea where it went. (0 Points)
- You and your spouse make financial decisions together.
- Yes. Every purchase is discussed and prioritized as part of the monthly budget review. (5 Points)
- Not all of them. We have set a dollar figure up to which we can spend without consultation. (3 Points)
- Not all of them. There are some I like to keep hidden. (1 Point)
- No. We each buy what we think is necessary without consulting with the other spouse. (0 Points)
- You and your spouse have combined your finances.
- Yes. We have combined checking/savings accounts and we both know the details about our money. (5 Points)
- Partially. We have one checking account to pay bills but we also each keep separate checking accounts for our own expenses. (3 Points)
- No. We each keep separate checking accounts and we have split the bills. The rest we spend as we see fit. (1 Point)
- No. You never know what’s going to happen and I would like to keep my options open and my money safe. (0 Points)
- You and your spouse have an equal vote when it comes to your money.
- Yes. We both have a say and we both have a vote in the financial decisions. (5 Points)
- Yes on the day to day expenses. However, since my spouse is better with finances I just trust him/her with planning for retirement/college savings or the mortgage. (3 points)
- No. I am simply given an amount I can spend on certain categories. (1 Point)
- No. We never talk about money. It only leads to fights. (0 Points)
- You and your spouse have agreement about your long term financial goals.
- Yes. We have a plan that we both understand and that we are both following. (5 Points)
- More or less. We agree on paying down the debt. But I would rather focus on paying the house first and my spouse is focused on saving for retirement first. (3 Points)
- No. We are having trouble agreeing on short term goals. (1 Point)
- No. We don’t even know where to start on planning for the long term. We just hope it works out. (0 Points)
Add up your scores for the 5 questions and see where you are:
- 20-25 Points: You have a very healthy relationship when it comes to money and you are on your way to financial wellness.
- 15-19 Points: You are having some of the right conversations but you need to get together on all aspects that relate to your money.
- 10-14 Points: You are acting more like a joint venture instead of a unified household. You need to join forces together right away.
- 0-9 Points: You are totally working independently of each other and you need to get some help today to get your finances in order.
In order to win with your money you have to be honest with each other, patient with each other, and you have to work with each other. There is no other way to win with your finances. If you are not working with each other you are working against each other. You need each other. Start working together today!
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NASB)