For better or worse, richer or poorer – well, maybe not the latter.
With many eager couples ready to get hitched this month as America’s summer wedding season kicks off, husbands, wives and one Fidelity life events adviser are sharing their solutions to avoiding problems related to one of the biggest causes of divorce: money.
According to the National Library of Medicine, which collected data from 2000-2021, 37% of all divorces in the United States occurred as a result of financial problems. Getting married too young, having too many arguments or conflicts, infidelity and lack of commitment were among the other top reasons for splitting up.
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So how can newlyweds prevent themselves from becoming a statistic? According to one Fidelity adviser, simply by communicating.
“Communication is key when it comes to merging finances as a couple,” Fidelity Life Events Experience Lead Meredith Stoddard told Fox News Digital. “While these might be sensitive or challenging topics to discuss, it’s important to have a line of open dialogue when it comes to money including income, debts or loans, expenses, future financial goals and more.”
“A few questions to keep in mind when deciding how to merge your finances include how each partner will contribute to the household finances (i.e. rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, etc.), how you will pay back any debt and how much money you will set aside for goals including an emergency fund, retirement and more.”
“Every relationship is unique, including how each couple approaches finances,” Stoddard said. “Whether you combine all assets, keep them separate, or do a hybrid, it’s crucial to be aligned on your shared short and long-term financial goals to best determine which approach works best for you.”
Though Stoddard acknowledged discussion surrounding finances can be tough to initiate with your spouse, she stressed that secret-keeping – even and especially of the financial variety – could be damaging to your marriage in more ways than one.
“Keeping financial secrets may seem like the answer to avoiding a difficult conversation,” the adviser added, “however this may have long-term impacts not only on your shared finances but may also put a strain on your relationship.”
While many view money habits – including managing debt or not having enough flexibility or autonomy – to be the most common problem couples will face throughout their marriage, others consider lack of communication to be the No. 1 issue.
The two are heavily intertwined, the Fidelity expert explained, advising that strengthening the latter can help navigate the former.
In fact, data from Fidelity on couples and money indicate 84% of those surveyed who say they communicate well agree that money is not their greatest relationship challenge, compared to 59% of couples who don’t communicate well.
“It’s rare for two different people to be on the same page about everything all the time. The most important thing you can do is to find something that enables you to meet your needs, both as individuals and as a couple,” Stoddard encouraged.
“The bottom line is that it may take multiple conversations for you and your partner to align on your goals and as your situation evolves.”
While speaking to five spouses, every couple told Fox New Digital that they maintain both joint and separate accounts – the latter of which their better halves do not have access to.
Due to income disparity, the couples also decided to forego splitting their bills evenly down the middle in lieu of a more proportionate division between spouses.
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When asked whether they had any advice to share with newlyweds this wedding season, one collective thought mirrored Stoddard’s advice: open communication is crucial.
“Have a discussion before you move in or get married about your views and expectations regarding financials,” said Christina Cianci, a speech pathologist who’s been married since 2020. “You don’t have to follow one model. You can make up your own system of what works best for you and your family.”
As for the big day itself, Mr. and Mrs.’s who spoke with Fox News Digital advised not to put too much money where your marriage is.
“Don’t overdo it on the details,” advised Jessie Vallillo, a Human Resources specialist who has been married since 2022. “No guest really cares or looks for details the day of. It’s not worth the extra cost for that bigger centerpiece or those gorgeous invitations.”
Vallillo and others said creating a joint account for any checks you may receive as wedding gifts would be a wise move, underscoring that weddings are meant to be about the life you’re creating together rather than a singular day of celebration.
“In the end, the reason you are getting married is to begin a new chapter with the person you love,” Vallillo added. “Wedding planning can be stressful, but throwing all your money into one day may cause stress for the rest of your life, which will most likely cause resentment towards your partner. It’s not the way you want to start your happily ever after,” she concluded.
After tying the knot, Fidelity’s life events lead reminded couples not to get too caught up in the honeymoon phase or forget tasks like reviewing insurance plans, updating or creating a will and setting beneficiary designations.
“I can’t emphasize this enough,” Stoddard pointed out, “communication is key. Create an open and honest dialogue around money early on to set you up for success in the future. Consider setting aside dedicated time each month for a financial check-in to ensure you’re tracking against your shared goals.”
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