Domestic Diversions

Talking cash

Money mixes marriage and money in its discussion of financial goals. Gerri Willis writes (exceprt):
For help getting started, here are today’s five tips.

Tip 1: No secrets
Many couples can talk about religion, sex, and what they are going to name their kids. But often they’re far less open about money, which is frequently cited as a reason for divorce. . . .

Start by having small conversations. Not just one big one. And do it on your leisure time. Don’t try to fit it in on the way to work or when you both come home and are exhausted.

Tip 2: To combine or not to combine?
Figure out as a couple what your joint expenses are as well as how you want to save and how you want to spend your money.

If you are a younger couple without a lot of assets, a joint account can work well. . . .

But if you’re an older couple or going into a second marriage, separate accounts may make sense. . . .

A third option is to have a joint account for some expenses (joint savings and living expenses) and separate accounts for individual spending money. . . .

Tip 3: Things change
That’s why, in addition to monthly money meetings with your spouse to keep abreast of near-term financial issues, you should discuss your big money picture at least once a year.
And take time to discuss the “what ifs.” What if one partner loses his or her job? What if one wants to go back to school? What if someone gets a job in another part of the country? Will the other spouse be willing to pack up and move?

Tip 4: Forget gender roles
Whatever your situation, don’t buy into the notion that money equals power in a marriage . . . .

Remember, marriage is a team effort. So keep an open line of communication with your spouse to discuss your expectations and fears.

Tip 5: Discuss tough topics [estate planning, credit cards for women, prenuptial agreements]

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