Financial stress is a leading cause of divorce. Maybe you save money easily, while your spouse spends without thinking.
Different relationships with money can cause enormous consequences for the financially responsible spouse. It can hurt their credit score and put them in debt that they had no part in causing. It can cause anxiety and a sense of powerlessness. Needless to say, this scenario does not make for a healthy marriage.
So, what can you do if you love your spouse but hate their spending habits? What are your options to make the marriage work without causing you constant panic? Here are a few options:
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a legally binding contract that you and your partner create before getting married. If you know about your fiancé’s reckless spending or mounting debt, a prenup can ensure that you don’t inherit that financial responsibility in the event of a divorce. It can also allow you to define the terms of your marital spending before you get married—which is an issue most couples don’t face until after the honeymoon.
If you’re already married and concerned about your spouse’s spending, it’s worthwhile to separate yourself from the problem. Remove yourself from any joint bank accounts or credit cards and create separate ones. If your spouse’s financial irresponsibility results in late or unpaid bills, become the member of the household who pays all the bills. This can prevent creditor harassment and keep your financial record clean.
If you don’t discover your financial disconnect from your spouse until after you get married, you can always get a postnuptial agreement (postnup). This works similarly to a prenuptial agreement. You can use it as a platform to discuss any major concerns you and your spouse have in the marriage—and work out a plan to deal with them together.
When a couple’s spending habits don’t match, it can result in a lot of turmoil in the relationship. But this doesn’t have to mean the end of the marriage. Being honest with your spouse about your worries can help you work together to find a resolution.