SmartMoney reported that money, above all else, was the main factor behind couples’ arguments. If couples are talking about money more often – and arguing about it more often – there’s a chance they’re divorcing over it as well.
According to the SmartMoney study, the number-one starter of fights in marriages is the debt topic.
There are many sayings about money that demonstrate how important it is. Ecclesiastes 10:19 says, “Money answereth all things;” another professes that “Money talks and everything else walks.” Essentially, money is used by people to get things done. And while there are plenty of things money can’t buy, like love and peace of mind, anyone who knows better will tell you that it can influence those things.
Perhaps the most popular colloquialism about money is “No money, no honey.” To pretend that money doesn’t impact the dynamics of a relationship is naïve. If it hasn’t had any affect on your relationship, just keep on living.
People come into relationships with different views on, respect for, understanding of and management skills about money. Money must be handled, but how you handle it individually and collectively makes all the difference. Financial compatibility is important.
Just because someone has money, it doesn’t mean that they know how to make good decisions with it. Some people are conservative with money; some people spend more money than they have. Some people save, and some people spend their checks as soon as they get them. As the saying goes, it’s not what you have, but what you do with what you have that counts. You don’t have to have a lot of money to make wise investments.
Money gives a sense of security. If I am going to allow a man to be in my life as a leader in any respect, then I need to have confidence about his decisions. If a man is wise about what is important to him, that tells me something about him and his commitment to successfully building his own house and family. As my boss Tom Joyner says, “Follow the money.” I’ll add to that: If you watch how a person spends their time and money, that will show you what their priorities are.
How do you feel about a couple who has separate accounts vs. having joint accounts?
I’ve polled a number of married and divorced people about this topic, and their responses range across the spectrum.
One guy who’s been married for 10 years said, “There are no rules. It’s just a matter of what works for that couple.”
Another man who’s been married for over 25 years said, “Moving in together doesn’t work. A relationship wherein the parties involved are committed to building and sharing a life together is no longer ‘Me, my.’ It’s ‘us ours.’ If you don’t think you can trust a person enough to share everything you have, then you shouldn’t be sharing your life. A married couple with separate accounts is basically saying, ‘I don’t trust this person with my money. My money is more important than my spouse is.’”
All of the women I spoke with felt that a woman should always have her own separate account. Another couple said they divide the bills and don’t share any accounts in order to keep the peace.
I believe in joint accounts for bills and joint activities and a personal account to do what you want when you want. Paying bills together should come out of your shared checking account. Your shared savings account should be the account that you build up together to meet goals, like saving for the future or a big purchase together.
Whatever you decide about spending together, you need to stick to it and communicate if something changes. Money can cause major problems in a relationship, and how someone communicates about money reveals a lot about character and accountability.
If you lie or are deceitful about money, what else will you lie or be deceitful about? As mentioned earlier, how people spend their time and money tells you something about their priorities.
Finally, while I have emphasized the importance on money in a relationship, I will end how I began. Money cannot make you happy. There are millions of miserable rich people. I do not believe in marrying for money. Money cannot comfort you, and, like the love of another human being, I am offering that money is a tool that can make your life better when used properly. Like with any tool, it can help you fix things when you apply it for its appropriate purpose. At the same time, it can bring about ruin and pain if you misuse it or choose to ignore that you need to use it with wisdom and care.
Do yourself a favor: Recognize that money matters, and take matters into your own hands to master money. Make it work for you and not against you.
When it comes to love and money, how do you feel?
Deya “Direct” Smith is a producer on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and host of Girlfriend FM and Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews on BlackAmericaWeb.com. She is also a motivational speaker, actress and social commentator. She can be reached at DeyaDirect@aol.com.