The chances of a marriage ending in divorce due to finances is about 45% according to an article by The New York Times. Divorce is sad, but divorce due to finances is something that can totally be prevented.
One way to prevent your marriage to end in this manner is to have conversations about money. Talk to your spouse and get on the same page. What I am saying is DON’T IGNORE money in your marriage – IT’S IMPORTANT.
Here are five must have conversation every parent should have with their spouse.
If you have lingering debt, then you need to sit down with your spouse and figure out how to get it under control. There is nothing more stressful on a marriage than going deeper in the hole every month.
You need to figure out how much debt you have (excluding your mortgage), determine how much money you currently make, and then come up with a game plan to knock out the debt. It’s hard and sacrifices will be made, but it is totally worth it!
I suggest you check out Jen McDonough’s site and see how her family knocked out $212,000 worth of debt in four years. She has an amazing story and she will help you realize you can do it too!
2) Life Insurance Planning
Do you and your spouse have life insurance? Do you even know if either of you have life insurance or how much?
This is not a fun conversation, but a necessary conversation. Two simple questions you should ask yourself is, 1) “What would happen to my husband/wife if I died today? 2) “How would he/she pay off the debt and bills without my salary?”
If you have inadequate life insurance and something happens; it can make a bad situation worse. Not only would your spouse be stressed out, but your kids would be distraught.
Life insurance is cheap, so make sure you spend the $25/month to get your family what they need! Have enough to at least pay off all debt, burial expenses, and income to help out your spouse and children.
3) Retirement Planning
Retirement planing is 20 to 30 years into the future and is a difficult conversation to have because it’s hard to imagine that kind of life when you are currently sleep deprived and shuffling kids to different events.
However, it is important to discuss because you need to know how much to save, each other’s risk tolerance, and when you want to retire. Many times I think this is a great opportunity to talk to a financial advisor (preferably a CFP).
They will help you answer these questions, set up a plan, and act as a financial coach to help you accomplish your goals. If you are confident you can do it on your own then that’s great, but the small fee you’ll pay an advisor for a comprehensive plan is often worth it!
4) Education Funding
Most parents want to help their children pay for college, but this isn’t the most pressing topic. I say this because your kids can borrow money to go to school, but no one is handing out loans to ensure you have a comfortable retirement.
First you need to get your debt under control and focus on retirement; then start worrying about paying for your children’s educations.
I am including this in the conversations you need to have because it is estimated 80% of people don’t enjoy their jobs. If you don’t enjoy your job/career then it is going to have a negative impact on your family too.
Talk to your spouse about your career. Figure out what each of you want to accomplish and what will make each of you happier. If there is something your husband/wife doesn’t like, then figure out together how you can make it better. Life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy, plus when you like your job then everything else is better too.
I’m not a marriage counselor, but I guarantee these conversations will help your marriage.
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