6 Money Mistakes Couples Make
Are your money troubles stressing you? Are you in love with someone who is irresponsible about money or deeply in debt? These six money mistakes might be to blame. Stop making them and you will avoid the heartache that Tim and Betty went through.
Who are Tim and Betty? They have been married for 25 years, held steady jobs and seemed to live within their means. However, 10 years ago they took out a second mortgage to help pay for college tuitions for their children, and later paid the cost of two fancy weddings for their daughters, as well as a number of expensive vacations. As a result, their monthly house payments doubled! Then Tim's job was downsized, and they had to sell their home — which was now worth less than half for what they paid for it.
This couple is not unique. Many others like them are also suffering monetary woes. Start now to undo these money mistakes and misconceptions that can lead to financial disaster.
It runs in my family
Your parents' behaviors around money and saving influenced you as you were growing up. What did their words and their behaviors teach you? Tim's dad was a steady worker but didn't sign up for a retirement program to have future security. Betty's mom worked part-time and acted like an airhead about money, spending it frivolously and letting her husband worry about paying the bills.
What family attitudes did you inherit that are harming you rather than helping you? You will find more about this in my book, Grownup Love: Getting It and Keeping It. Share it with your partner or spouse. What changes do you want to make?
Keep up with the Joneses
Do you compete with your friends or family even though you can't afford it? If so, you are most likely in debt. Take stock of your own personal spending history and have your spouse or lover share his or her past spending behavior.
When Kathy was in her twenties, she had a good job and loved to spoil herself. She charged freely at many boutiques, bought jewelry she couldn't afford, and had to declare bankruptcy. Kathy was fortunate since she was forced to pay her debts and become responsible at an early age. However, if either you or your loved one have bankruptcy in your background or are unable to live within your means, face it now and make a future plan that is responsible.
Binge buddies gotta have it now!
Honesty is one of the most important traits necessary for lasting relationship happiness. Come clean about any other emotional problems that might lead to financial distress.
Gary and Nina both tended to be shopaholics and "binge buddies" at the mall. When their debt got to the danger point, they chose to cut up their credit cards and pay off what they owed. However, Gary had secretly kept a card and continued his compulsion without Nina knowing.
His out-of-control spending finally ruined them. When Nina discovered that she was legally responsible for his debts, she divorced him. If you or someone you love has this problem, go to Debtor's Anonymous for support. You will discover my powerful program for overcoming compulsive spending in the book or audio version of Born To Spend.
Live for today and worry tomorrow
Do you balance your checkbook, or do your just spend what you want without worry and cross your fingers that at the end of the month your checks won't bounce?
An easy way to become responsible is to get concrete. You can do this as a couple or individually. Make a list on which you write down how much money it takes for you to live each month. Include car payments, mortgage or rent, food, repairs, phone, loans, pet food, gas, electricity, haircuts, medications, eating out, etc.
Make another list of your income: salary, commissions, retirement, or any other moneys that come to you each month. Compare the two lists and see if you are living within your means. If you aren't, you need to come up with a plan that makes sense for your lifestyle.
Ignorance is bliss
Tim and Betty got married when they were only eighteen. They were just out of high school and didn't know much about acting like adults or being fiscally responsible. Did you at that age? Our schools don't teach us about handling our finances. Most parents don't take much time to do that either. However, you can get a credit card when you are eighteen and start to spend and create debt.
Stop being ignorant now! If you are drowning in money worries, look for a financial advisor who will help you create a plan for becoming solvent and learn to live within your means.
Leaving a negative legacy
What are you passing along to your children? Have you taught them to save? Have you helped them shop wisely? Will they get the message: Do as I say and not as I do? It is not too late for you to undo your negative money habits and let your children and their children learn from your mistakes.