By Rachel Cruze
Two of the most important parts of a healthy marriage are teamwork and communication.
Without those two areas being a priority, it’s very difficult for a marriage to survive. That’s why money fights and money problems are the leading cause of divorce in America today.
When you both got married, the pastor said, “You are one.” And you know what? He meant it! You are one. Together, you are a team that sets the tone for your family and your future.
When it comes to money, that means one bank account. It means making a budget — together. It means getting and staying on the same page in everything related to your money.
If you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye regarding money, you are just inviting tension and stress and disagreement into your marriage.
For example, if one spouse is sitting down every month and coming up with a budget, and, without notice, the other spouse goes out and spends $500 on a new television, then you have problems.
And that’s a realistic scenario. Around 1 in 5 Americans admit to spending $500 or more without their partner’s knowledge. We call it “financial infidelity,” and it’s a growing problem today.
When you both sit down at the table and come up with a budget that you both agree on, then issues like that won’t happen. Each month, before the month begins, you sit down and spend every dollar on paper, on purpose.
It’s okay if one of you takes the lead, but you both have to buy in to the budget and understand what’s going on. You both need to have a grasp of your whole financial situation.
That’s why it’s vital to have one primary bank account that you both use. When you have separate accounts, it’s too easy to start thinking, This is my money and that is his money — when, really, it’s your money together.
Once you have that single account, you can set a limit on a single purchase that you both make without talking. For instance, if your limit is $100, then neither of you would purchase anything over $100 without talking to your spouse first.
That specific number will depend on your income. It might be more, and it might be less. But it’s important that you both know what’s coming in and going out of your bank account. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is up to!
*Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and presenter, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her new book Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored with her dad Dave Ramsey, released April 2014 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list. You can follow Rachel on Twitter at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.