My mother had married my dad at the age of 18, and I guess never felt completely at ease with the fact that neither one of them got their college degrees. SO she made it her mission to assure that each and every one of her kids would “marry” better. Looking back now I realize how flawed and misguided her thinking was and how I wish she would’ve pushed me to attain a higher level of education, beyond my college degree, but I guess being of a different generation, where men brought home the bacon and women cooked it up- she must have believed my best bet at securing my financial future was to marry someone with money (as opposed to encouraging me to make my own). And as a young impressionable 18 year old, I so desperately wanted her seal of approval and so I specifically sought out suitors who would measure up to her version of what an ideal husband for me should be.
My mother convinced me marrying a medical doctor would guarantee me a life of luxury, and security, she scoffed at the D.O. (the osteopath I once dated, claiming he WASN’T a REAL M.D.) And for several years I dated with this singular mission. But here’s the thing about marrying someone who is established and has money– after all is said and done– that money is theirs and nothing in this world is free. Doctors are also a whole different breed of man– imagine going to school for another good ten years after college, having to work for so long to achieve that title- it’s takes a certain kind of personality to sustain that kind of pressure and singular focus. Still I kept my focus and I dated many doctors who wore their MD’s like badges of honor, drove expensive cars and were incredibly enamored with themselves and their titles and sense of power. Of course, those relationships never ended all that well. And then I met my husband, who was THE ANTI-DOCTOR.
Fast forward almost 18 years ( this Decemeber) and our attitudes about finance have been clearly delineated- and are pretty much the same that they were when we first met– I like to spend and he likes to save. Apparently our financial issues as a couple ARE NOT UNIQUE to us!
And according to a new survey by McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union, one of the nation’s leading credit unions, not only do today’s couples experience anxiety over shopping, but many partners also lie to each other to cover up just how much they’ve spent or plan to spend. To understand just how couples spend MHFCU recently polled over 1,000 couples in 3 different segments: married, same-sex and divorced but remarried/in-a-relationship.
Here are some of the more fascinating findings:
48% of all heterosexual couples disagree with their partner on how much to spend.
43% of divorced but remarried/in-a-relationship couples disagree with their partner’s spending
However, the percentage drops to 37% for same-sex couples
34% of heterosexual couples have lied to their spouse about spending
25% of divorced/remarried or in-a-relationship, and same-sex couples lie to their partner
More than 50% of married couples report paying with cash to cover up a large purchase and more than 1-in-10 has taken out a credit card in their own name to hide their spending
Same-sex couples are more likely to retrieve/pay a bill before a partner notices
McGraw-Hill FCU President and CEO Shawn Gilfedder believes greater access to financial wellness resources can help all couples be more transparent. So I figured, McGraw-Hill FCU President and CEO Shawn Gilfedder would be the best professional to give my husband and I guidance on how to keep financial issues from killing our marriage Keep reading for his 5 tips and insights!
#1 Be Honest When it comes to big purchases ( holiday gifts, appliances, etc.) Write down the ABSOLUTE MOST you will spend on each person. Next to this number, write down the amount you would IDEALLY like to spend.
#2 Let’s Have The Talk. Sit down and share the budget with your spouse or partner. Remember, both parties have to be comfortable with the numbers. Be sure you have the resources (money in the bank) to cover this budget, while paying all your other living expenses and contributing to savings accounts. If not, make adjustments.
#3 Know the terms. Check your overdraft protection. Make sure you have enough funds in your checking, savings, or money market account so you don’t overdraft and incur unnecessary fees. These can really add up. Make sure that your savings account and debit card are linked as overdraft protection to avoid costly fees in case of an overage.
#4 Be a Team at the department store. If driving all over town comparing prices drives your spouse crazy, download the Amazon.com app which allows you to scan items in the store and compare prices “ What’s better than a free app that helps you save money?” Saves time, gas and frustration.
#5 Make a Honey-Do list Create a project and ask your spouse to check out sites like RetailMeNot.com and Coupons.com for the latest promotional codes for extra savings. The Internet is a wealth of resources for shoppers looking to shop on a budget. Show your partner how much you saved thanks to their online coupons and they’ll be searching for even more savings.