Most couples we know are dual-income couples, meaning both are working. But we also know a few where only one (typically the guy) works. We’ve had experience living on one income in the past — when we were newly married and when Ambie was pregnant with and gave birth to our first child. Both lasted for a little more than a year.
Obviously, there are a lot of benefits of living on one income. One of you (the mom) can take time off to take care of young kids and household stuff. Or one of you can work full-time while the other takes a little more risk in a startup business or take a second degree. The other strategy is for both of you work but you use only one income for expenses while saving or investing the other person’s income.
If living on one income is something you’re considering, take these steps:
In the Philippines, the stereotype is the husband earns a living and the wife holds the purse. Nowadays, of course, most couples are dual-income couples. And usually, one handles the finances, which is more often than not the wife. But we know couples also wherein it’s the husband who manages the money.
In our case, we split our financial responsibilities. Heinz brings in the money and Ambie spends it (kidding!). Well, that’s actually partly true. Heinz’s main responsibility is to earn money for our family. Ambie’s main responsibility is to manage that money for our family, and that involves spending wisely.
Keeping money secrets from your spouse is more common than we think. In a widespread survey by TODAY.com and SELF magazine on Financial Infidelity, it turns out that 37 percent of men and 56 percent women have lied to their money about money. Why? More than a third said it’s because they disagree about where to spend it. Yet 70 percent believe financial honesty is just as important as being monogamous.
Some experts think there are situations when it’s actually prudent to hide money from your spouse. But except for these extreme situations, it’s better to work on this problem together as a couple.
Now what do you do when you catch your spouse cheating on you financially, whether it’s hiding expenses and debt or income and assets?
Have you ever hidden expenses from your spouse? Or at least, were you ever been tempted to do so?
If you’re reading this with your spouse, you’ll probably deny it to death! But it wouldn’t be surprising if you have done this, even in the distant past. Do you realize this is one way of cheating your spouse? Think of it this way: you’re a team, a single unit. Whatever each of you earns belong to both of you. So if you spend on something and intentionally hid it from your spouse, aren’t you cheating?
Are men better at managing credit cards than women? Well, that’s what the infographic below shows. Personally this applies to us but we can’t really generalize if it applies to most couples. How about in your case?
When we got married, we did not have that much — well, we were financially stable and responsible enough to be ready for marriage, but obviously we didn’t marry each other hoping we’ll retire soon!
We married for love, not money, but aside from other factors like our common faith, interests, sense of humor, and ravishing good looks (ahem!), we also knew we were MFEO (“meant for each other” — I don’t even know if people use this term!) because we shared similar goals and had the same ambitions. And yes, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we both had the ability to make and manage money.
Let’s face it: you will fight over money. Even if you have the same goals, same money personalities, same priorities, same values, and same everything, you will one way or another fight about financial issues.
In our case, one of us sometimes forgets to pay the bills on time. The other one, however, is too quick to settle payables, only to find out there was an overpayment.
So what do you when these financial flareups happen?
Ahh, the never-ending debate. If you’re still “in a relationship” we advise against having a joint account. Why? Because you never know what will happen to your relationship a few years down the road. You might end up changing your status to “single” or “it’s complicated.”
But if you’re married, there are many combinations you can try, but we only have one advice: get a joint account.
Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the three main combinations:
Ideally, you should already know if you are financially compatible even before getting married. However, if you’ve been together for some time, it is never too late.
We’ve been blessed that we’re financially compatible in general. Sure, we still have our differences, and we occasionally have money arguments. But overall, when it comes to financial matters, we’re a great match!
So how do you know if you and your spouse are financially compatible? Discuss these five areas together (or think about this separately and then compare):
Money is the number one cause of divorce. There is at least one study that backs up this claim, which found out that “Couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.”
For sure, money issues are one of the major reasons for marital conflicts. But why do couples fight over finances? There are many reasons, but we can boil them down to what we like call the “5 P’s of Money Problems.”