When I decided to go part time when my children were young, my husband and I sat down and talked about how the loss of income would affect our household. I knew the schedule would make our lives easier, but I also hated giving up half my salary and becoming more dependent on my husband to support our family.
Conversations about money and work are common in households across the country. Or, at least they should be.
Instead, couples seem to be communicating less and hiding more from their significant others -- particularly as people work longer hours or get married later and have their own credit and debt. Indeed, Fidelity Investments found that 72 percent of the couples surveyed believed they communicate well. But four in 10 of the pairs didn’t know how much their partner earned, and one in five admitted to hiding some of their finances from their significant other.
As today's workers struggle with work life balance, there are more financial questions that they face (Is this job worth the time demands? Should I start my own business? Should I ask for a reduced schedule? Should I demand a raise? Should the breadwinner have more say over spending?)
I tackled the topic in my Miami Herald column today
and in it I shared a piece of advice from Jeff Motske,
a financial adviser and author of A Couple’s Guide to Financial Compatibility
. Jeff suggested couples have a financial date night once a month. He isn't advocating you show up with bank statements or a paycheck stub. He simply says sit down together in a stress free environment and talk about income and expenses, goals and dreams, work hours and income. Jeff says financial date night helps to get couples on the same page and reduce arguments that can destroy a marriage.
Experts say it's okay to have separate accounts and it's okay to have splurge money and it's even okay to keep pouring money into a business rather than taking a salary ---as long as you and your partner are open about it and communicate with each other. With bank statements now digital and online access to accounts, it's easier than ever to keep money secrets. But is it worth it?
Repeatedly, money is mentioned as the top source of arguments in marriage. Yet, all healthy marriages have disagreements over money, So, it seems well worth the effort to make a financial date night and get concerns out in the open. I'm planning mine, are you?