Historically, households have only had one income and this was a role fulfilled by men. Women in the workforce is unquestionably a positive development of the past century, but two income households face their own challenges.
With two incomes, handling money in your marriage is more complicated than ever. According to surveys, money is the leading cause of stress in marriages and, consequently, of divorce. So, how do you handle your finances together to create an happy home environment? With these four easy-to-follow tips, you can hopefully avoid the need to pick up the phone to a divorce lawyer in London and enjoy many years of matrimonial bliss together.
1. Talk About Money Early in the Marriage
Congratulations, you’re engaged! What next? While you might be hesitant to talk about money because you worry it will lead to fights and arguments, it’s better to get any disagreements out of the way now before they become much bigger further on down the line. Remember that marriage is a combining of two households and your upbringings, which may not have come into play before now. If they’ve been very different when it comes to finance management, then now’s the time when they will start to clash.
If one of you has been brought up to save and the other to spend, this is an argument waiting to happen. There are certain conversations you should have before tying the knot, however difficult and uncomfortable, and money is definitely one of them.
2. Draw Up a Prenup With a Divorce Lawyer in London
The idea of a drawing up a prenuptial agreement with a London divorce lawyer is hardly the most romantic, but prenups should be as standard for everyone as insurance. After all, anything might happen in the future. Just like you wouldn’t buy a house without also buying house insurance, you shouldn’t say your marriage vows until you’ve signed a prenuptial agreement. Just like not having house insurance, not having a prenuptial agreement could quite literally leave you homeless and out in the cold.
With 42% of marriages in the UK ending in divorce, don’t let romance cloud your better judgement. If you’re uncertain about how to broach the topic of a prenup, try some of these great tips for introducing the idea and make sure that you ask with love, rather than sounding at all accusatory or like you expect your marriage to fail.
Remember: the whole point of clearing the air about financial matters early on is to increase your chances of a long and happy marriage. When you’re working out the terms of your prenup, look through the legal 500 family law website to find London divorce lawyers for both of you.
If marriage isn’t for you, you can also get the help of a divorce lawyer in London to draw up a cohabitation agreement. You can still have the insurance against anything that might happen in the future, but without taking the step of marriage.
3. Keep Separate Bank Accounts
If you have different attitudes towards money, then you don’t have to call off the engagement. Keeping your main bank accounts separate, but having a joint one for your household, is a good way to avoid unnecessary arguments about your partner’s spending habits. It can also avoid bringing too much baggage to the relationship if you have debt or student loans.
Thanks to rising tuition fees and a pressure to complete third-level education, more millennials than ever are saddled with large amounts of student loans and debt. As long as you make sure you can make your monthly payments, keeping your debts separate from your finances in your marriage as much as possible is a good idea. Especially if one of you earns significantly more, separate bank accounts encourage you to maintain your financial independence and limit grand gestures like offering to pay off each other’s loans — which, while seeming like a good idea at the time, can cause resentment later on.
4. Talk About Finances and Expectations Honestly and Realistically
You may have managed the finance talk before your wedding, but that shouldn’t be the last time finances are mentioned, instead, it should be a talk which turns into a regular event. Sitting down every month or few months to discuss financial goals and check in with each other is a good habit to establish early on. Setting out an annual financial blueprint, possibly with the help of a legal 500 family law solicitor, or divorce lawyer in London, is a good way to set targets. This helps you work towards loan repayments, holidays, climbing the property ladder and other important financial developments, which help you achieve your budgeting and spending targets in the long run.
If you establish these patterns of financial responsibility early into your marriage, by the time bigger issues arise down the line like property and children, your foundations will be strong and you can tackle them together as a team. Develop good communication skills, prepare for any eventuality, and add a healthy dose of being realistic. With these tools you can survive financial bumps together for a long, happy and financially secure marriage.