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An Argument for Couples Keeping Their Financial Independence

An Argument for Couples Keeping Their Financial Independence

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely…At some level, power exists in friendship, romance, marriage, and family.” — Guerrero, et al, “Close Encounters: Communications in Relationships”, p. 255

Financial independence among couples is one of the new issue many newly married couples are discussing. Despite the common thought that married couples should share conjugal rights to properties involving assets acquired before marriage, it can be a wise step if the couple remain financially independent. This does not mean encouraging financial secrecy towards each other, but encouraging freedom and autonomy to expenses. This is really important to maintain stability to the family’s expenses and for the future expenses (as the family grows). Here are the reasons why the couples should remain autonomous when it comes to finances:

1. It will allow the couple to adjust to the inter-dependency of expenses, especially if one or both were already financially independent before marriage.

Since marriage is about conjugal rights of both parties’ assets, etc., it is really important to have a smooth transition from single life to married life. In order to achieve that, in the first phase of the married life, the couple should respect the autonomy of one towards his/her expenses and what he/she wishes to spend to it. According to Kelly Long, a CPA at Shephard Schwartz & Harris LLP in Chicago, having separate accounts will allow two people who were independent financially before marriage a sense of autonomy as they slowly adjust to the couplehood.

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2. It will equally divide family expenses.

The couple is highly encouraged to have different bank accounts so as to divide the expenses needs fairly. Each one can re-check if finances are available and still stable and are still able to pay his/her part from the entire family expenses. In this way, the couple can agree with each other fairly to what they should be responsible paying for. In a couple, perhaps the other one has more income than the other or has more stable/fixed income than the other.

3. It will encourage responsibility regarding the wife/husband’s debts.

Since the couple has different bank accounts or separate finances/savings, etc., it will encourage the wife/husband to be responsible of paying her/his own debts. Thus, it also promotes discipline of each other towards the spending habits as well. As a result, it will be a more stable family life in terms of expenses and spending discipline. Moreover John Ulzheimer, President of Consumer Education at Smartcredit.com, says that getting into debt is a choice, not a coincidence/accident.

4. It promotes respect to each other in terms of spending habits.

By having different bank accounts, it can highly respect the differences of the habits of the other. For example, the wife may like Chanel bags or other expensive objects while the husband likes to have tools for carpentry, repairs, etc. In this manner, through having independence financially, they can have what they wish to have without harming the other by spending the partner’s money just for their items which he/she may not be agreeable towards.

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5. It keeps the relationship healthy.

Ideally, the couple married because they love each other.  However, if the they have unstable finances, it might affect each other’s relationship which later on develops to a more serious problem – Divorce. One manner which may help to avoid this is couples being highly encouraged to have separate accounts. This is according to Rosemary Frank, a certified Divorce Financial Analyst in Brentwood, Tennessee.

Possible problems if couples are highly dependent financially:

1. One person may lose their identity is such a relationship.

Because one is dependent on the other in terms of finances, it will also affect the way they behave and interrelate.

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2. It promotes inequality in the relationship.

It is really unhealthy for the couples to feel prejudice in some manner. It may be minor or may explode into something major.

3. It will put the wife/husband at high risk when circumstances change.

Loss of job in a single career family, is an example. If both incomes are dependent on one and the other partner doesn’t have resources, they family could be put in a bind during this time.

4. It impairs equal incentive as an individual.

This means that when the other one is financially dependent to his/her wife/husband, it may lessen the incentive of the other to earn and experience confidence and pride from also providing for the family monetarily.

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5. It explicitly shows dominance within relationships.

Because of the fact that the other one is unable to spend or to contribute toward the expenses in the family, the other one can easily show dominance over the other. This can cause one to feel demeaned and the other to feel burdened with responsibility.

A piece of advice to married couples:

Ruth Hayden, a financial educator and author in St. Paul, Minnesota, writes that there are many couples who think that they can be actually fair at all times in terms of finances, yet this is impossible. She advises couples to just be clear to their goals as a married couple and move on from there.

Featured photo credit: Dodgerton Skillhause via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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