Unfortunately, most couples don’t discover how bad their financial situation is until they are going through divorce. The State of Florida requires you to do a financial affidavit, a form designed to disclose how much you earn, spend, have and owe.
“That can’t be right! It shows that we don’t have enough income to pay our bills.”
Virtually 100% of my clients are shocked when they are finished listing their spending versus their income.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea to figure this out before you marry?
Financial Stress –> Divorce?
Financial stress always makes the top ten list for reasons couples divorce. In my practice, there is usually one who is a spender and one who is a saver. Even when both are savers, they often have conflicting ideas regarding what is important to save for and how to accomplish it.
So wouldn’t it make sense to get your plan in place before you marry?
He who fails to plan, plans to fail. — Winston Churchill
Take The Test
Answer these questions individually and then compare your answers. Chances are you and your fiancé(e) will not agree on even half of these.
- How much will your combined income be on your wedding day?
- If/when you have children, will you live on one income or two?
- How much debt are you bringing into the marriage?
- Will you use credit cards to finance your lifestyle or will you pay them off monthly?
- How much should you be able to spend without consulting with your spouse?
- How much will you put away for retirement on an annual basis?
- What age to do you plan to retire?
- Do you plan to send children to Christian school? If so, how much will that cost?
- Will you set up a college fund for your children?
- Will you finance cars or pay cash for them?
- Will you buy new or used cars?
- How many weeks of vacation will you take and how much will you spend per week?
- How much will you spend at Starbucks on an annual basis?
- How much will you spend weekly eating out?
- How much will you spend on personal services, like hair, nails, spas on a monthly basis?
- Will you tithe 10% of your income?
- Will you tithe on your gross or net income?
- Will you gift more than your tithe?
- What charities will you support?
- Will you buy a home or rent an apartment?
- How much will you spend on a monthly basis for rent or a mortgage payment?
- Who will pay the bills?
- Who will put together the information to do the taxes?
7 Steps to Plan for Success
What can you do to prevent a major stumbling block to a rock-solid marriage?
- Take a finance class together, such as a Dave Ramsey class, so that you can discover what God’s plan for finances is.
- Pray for God to reveal God-honoring “us” plans for how to use this resource that He gives us.
- Prepare your budget as if only one of you is working. Save the other spouse’s income for rainy days or parenting years.
- Decide who will keep the finances and use a program like Quicken to track them. Use an envelope system if you have trouble with self-control.
- Have a regular business meeting to see if you are keeping on track. Do this at least monthly and don’t do it on date night.
- Decide on whether you will use credit cards and debt, and if so, how they will be paid off.
- Decide how much you can spend without consulting with the other.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish. — Luke 14:28-30, ESV
Why did God give us money?
God gave us money, not so that we could provide for ourselves, but rather that we could recognize His provision and discover where our hearts truly reside?
Will you use God’s provision to glorify Him and honor your spouse or will you allow it to stir up dissention in your marriage? The choice is yours. Make it before you marry.