"I solemnly take thee to be my lawfully wedded spouse. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, through sickness and good health, until death do us part."
Today, the divorce rate is an alarming 51%. Meaning one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Of those divorces, nearly 80% cite financial problems as the leading cause of the marital demise. That will suggest people are more willing to reconcile their difference during the sick times, such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, diabetes, heart failure, cancer, strokes, and other ailments. People are more willing to reconcile their difference during the worse times like lying, cheating, stealing, verbal/physical abuse, and others. But when it comes to the poor times, nearly 80% says it is time to call it quits. The ill effects on finances as a result of divorce due to child support, alimony, and loss of income often times further damages the husband, wife, children and new relationships.
In my view, poor times do not necessarily mean a time of which incomes are at poverty levels for the divorce rate of 51% includes high-income earners. I think that the poor times represent times where the bulk if not all of your paychecks are committed to your various creditors. As a result, unless you sacrifice paying certain bills, it is hard for you to enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as dining out, going to a movie or to a play, or going on vacation.
More importantly, being financially bound robs you of your security blanket. How can one feel secure when it is a struggle to maintain adequate food, clothing, shelter and other necessities? Most people do not understand how they got into the financial predicament let alone how to get out. Being insecure about the necessities of life, not being able to enjoy simple pleasures and not knowing how to get out debt will create a heightened level of stress. The high degree of stress associated with being financially bound is the core reason why financial problems are the leading cause of divorces.
Lets explore the various things that will lead a family to financial chaos:
Nobody Plans to Fail, They Just Fail to Plan
The most common reason people find themselves in a financial jam is because of poor planning. Too often we live for today with little regard for tomorrow. Many of us commit ourselves to multiple long-term debts. That would imply that we know our jobs and health are secured for the terms of those contracts. We know that our young children and unborn children will be healthy and strong for the duration of the contract.
Every great architectural structure begins with a blueprint. Every journey begins with a map. Likewise every financially sound marriage should began with a plan. Having no plans or goals will encourage a person to be willy-nilly with their finances. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Lack of Communication
In many cases, there tends to be a lack of communication about finances. One spouse may be withdrawing money from the account without the other spouse knowing. One spouse may take on additional expenses without the other spouse's consent. Some married couples tend to hide money from each other.
Numbers don't lie. Sooner or later checks will start to bounce and you will be assessed late fees and bounced check fees. Sooner or later, hidden expenses will rear their ugly heads.
Consult with your spouse about various expenditures. Too often we think we are hiding money and it ends up costing us more money in the end.
Many times, you will find one or both spouses with an excessive desire for wealth. True wealth takes time, patience, sacrifice, and struggle to obtain. Many couples have the look of wealth, but behind closed doors, they often struggle to make ends meet.
Do you really need his and her car notes? Do you have to have all the latest gizmos and latest fashions? Do you really want to tap both husband and wife incomes to the max?
It does not matter how much you make. Without a proper understanding of your finances, it is very easy to get caught up with excessive expenses. You will find that some couples do not know how much money is coming into the household. Nor do they know how much money is being spent monthly.
Many people sign leases, car notes, mortgages, insurance, investments and other small and big item commitments and never fully understand them.
When dealing with finances, ignorance is not bliss. Try to understand the long-term effects of various commitments you make with your finances.
Take control of your finances before your finances take control of you and your marriage.
Damon is the owner of ACE Financial. He can be reached at 412-856-11.
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