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"For better, or worse, for richer, for poorer..." are the most common traditional wedding line known to most if not all but rarely do couples mean these sincere words to each other when repeated in front of a congregation of family and friends. This may sound harsh and both spouses may have truly meant it at the time, but we know the divorce rates plaguing our nation and ripping apart families.
Divorce Rates Climb
According to Pew Research, Renne Stepler, writes in regards to the vast increase in divorce for adults fifty and older1,, the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau conclude that for every 1,000 marriages in this age population, ten marriages experience divorce.
This 2015 figure is an increase from 5, the figure reported in 1990. Therefore, in the last 25 years from 1990 to 2015, this age bracket has experienced a whopping 109% increase. This has coined a phrase "Gray Divorce" for that generation.
For those in a younger range, 40-49 years old, has seen a 14% increase while the age gap from 25-39 years old actually has seen a decrease by 21%.
With a large part of these generations experiencing divorce, there are commonalities that we can learn from to stop the high rates of divorce.
While marriages end for a variety of reasons, Marriage.com lists out the top 10 Reasons for Divorce2:
Lack of Communication
Lack of Intimacy
Lack of Equality
Unprepared for Marriage
Money a Top Reason for Divorce
Couples already struggle in communicating with each other by sharing their issues and pain or talking and listening. In an article from LiveAbout.com, it was noted that spouses have fear when bringing up particular topics because of the pain it might bring to the other spouse.3
This is one of the reasons that money is a sensitive topic when it comes to discussing it once in a marriage. It all boils down to communication and if you and your spouse are not discussing your financial plans of the present and future, then pain and hurt could be on the horizon.
Budget Household Expenses Once a Month
When sitting down to finalize your monthly expenses and budget, you MUST include your spouse in the conversation. Like most men, I was guilty of this too because we like to be the bread winner and we hate failure or having faults pointed out.
It is very common for a household to designate one of the couples to handle their finances. Sometimes it is the man and more often I am learning its the woman.
Whether it be the wife or husband, both need to be on the same page when it comes to any of the following:
This isn't an all-inclusive list but it does get the conversation started and a willingness to share by communicating. I recommend you schedule a time and date once a month to go over any of the above items and discuss any issues or concerns you or the spouse may have.
Do not leave the table until the couple are both in understanding. Should anything arise that may disturb the conversation or should an interruption take place, then reschedule a date and time to reengage.
"Husbands and wives are not communicating together..."
There is a reason why communication and money rank high on the list for divorce. While different studies will rank each in a different order, the results are in and whether these are ranked number one, two, or three is irrelevant because it still ranks and is obviously a major concern in marriages.
Husbands and wives are not communicating together and guess what? Finances are one of the those topics.
Be sure to check out several budget templates for under $2 on our Etsy store to help get you started.
Men & Women Differ About Money
We all have heard about men and women being from two different planets, hence the book. But the debate isn't as far fetched as some may be led to believe. According to a survey by Kiplinger, "women were more likely than men to say that they talk to friends and family or ask questions of a financial adviser". 3 As a male and in my experience, this is mostly likely very true---Ouch!
Sorry guys. Men typically are very prideful and we like to think we know a lot of things. When it comes to finances, we can get defensive at times. We don't like to be second guessed and we surely don't like to be wrong.
On the other hand, women tend to be more fact checkers, conduct their research, etc because of their need for security.
This goes hand-in-hand with our article earlier this month Men, Give Women Your Money which discusses research on how women outperformed men in the stock market. When it comes to investing and unlike men, women tend to take less risk. So it stands to merit that the survey is fairly accurate.
Work Together as a Couple
One of the best ways in working together as a couple is assisting one another in saving money. While most consider their budgets already trimmed, prices and rates are always changing as companies continue to compete to earn new business.
I recommend you call for an insurance quote. Insurance prices from life to auto have declined with competition so a company that is trusted by me is Allstate and eSurance. You should consider working together in calling or clicking the links to communicate on opportunities to start saving.
Even if the quotes are not saving you money, you should work together and double check their rates as an exercise to communicate with one another and learn each other's preferences.
Another great exercise is checking each other's credit score. I am amazed how many couples have never reviewed and learned about each's credit past. True communication is learning more about each other and if a person has a bad credit past, then that needs to be shared immediately to ensure the couple work together on issues that may be present or recently evident. I advised you get a FREE credit score from Credit Sesame to check this.
A third resource I want to recommend helps with transparency. It is an app that I use to monitor my spending ensuring I do not exceed and Personal Capital does this for FREE!
In conclusion, it is vital and critical that spouses sit together and make time to go over monthly expenditures. If you don't this opens up dangers in your marriage. If you do take my advice, then you are opening up lines of communication to build trust, integrity, transparency, and willingness to learn from each other.
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1 Stepler, Renee. Led by Baby Boomers, divorce rates climb for America's 50+ population. Pew Research Center. 9 March 2017. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/09/led-by-baby-boomers-divorce-rates-climb-for-americas-50-population/
2 Warren, Shellie. 10 Most Common Reasons for Divorce. Marriage.com. 31 January 2018. Retrieved from https://www.marriage.com/advice/divorce/10-most-common-reasons-for-divorce/
3 Meyer, Cathy. Why Most Divorces Aren't Caused by Infidelity or Abuse. LiveAbout.com. 14 July 2017. Retrieved from https://www.liveabout.com/major-causes-of-divorce-1102889
4 Bodnar, Janet. How Men and Women Think Differently About Money. September 2016. Retrieved from https://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T065-C034-S002-how-men-and-women-think-differently-about-money.html