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May 15

Are You and Your Spouse Financially Compatible?


And… they lived happily ever after. This is true in fairy tales, but in real life, many marriages end on a different note. The fact of the matter is many times, couples find financial disparity in their relationship, do not deal with it directly, and begin to see problems arise. Regardless of the issue, differences must be realized and discussed up front, before the financial bottom falls out.

Considering that financial problems are cited as a leading cause of divorce, it is vital to make sure you and your partner are on the same financial page. By speaking openly and honestly about finances, couples can manage their differences and find their way to compatibility.

Financial Compatibility Clues in Your Mate

The following areas should be considered in an effort to help your relationship stay “on track” financially.

Credit and debt: Disclose your credit statements to one another. How much debt do you each have? This would include credit card debt, vehicle loans and student loan obligations. Don’t hide anything, as that’s really getting off on the wrong foot. (Red flag alert if your mate is defensive or won’t talk about debt.)

Saving philosophy: What is your attitude toward saving, what is your spouse’s? It is important to be honest and realistic or any saving plan that you develop is sure to fail.

Spending attitude: What’s your approach to spending? Do you want a joint or separate checking account? Who will be responsible for each household expense? Will the dollar amount be divided evenly?

Retirement planning: What are both your views on retirement planning? Should both parties contribute to the retirement account? How much is needed?

Financial checklist: Make a list of your financial goals and achievements to date. Then, have your spouse do the same. Determine if your short and long-term financial goals match.

How to Manage if Your Viewpoints Don’t Match

Financial differences don’t have to be the catalyst for a huge fight. Just because your money beliefs don’t fit immediately, doesn’t mean you can’t both work on it together, find some middle ground and move forward to your “happily ever after.”

Ask the following of yourself and your spouse:
* What beliefs must you stand your ground on?
* What are you willing to give up for the greater good?
* What are your top 10 goals to accomplish over the next three, five, 10, 20, 40 years?
Compare both of your top 10 lists and prioritize what is important collectively.

The most important aspect of determining the financial compatibility in a marriage is discovering how you and your partner’s monetary viewpoints match up early on. If money differences are brought to the surface in time, a little compromise and strategic planning can put your relationship back on the right track.

Kimberly Foss is a Certified Financial Planner and personal finance expert with 28 years industry experience. Kimberly founded Empyrion Wealth Management (Roseville, Calif.) 22 years ago and focuses on managing the financial lives of pre-retirees, retirees and women in transition. For more information please visit Empyrion Wealth Management ( or call 916-786-7626.

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