I have my finances completely in order and my fiance is the exact opposite. How do I keep him from ruining my financial status after we combine our finances?
Financial problems in marriages is considered the largest reason for divorce, which means that it’s good you’re getting a grasp on this now! There is no rule that says you MUST combine your finances, so if you and your fiance can agree upon keeping things mostly separate for the first year to see if he can get his finances on track, just do that. A very easy way to work the combined expenses and keep tabs on the money going out is to get a joint credit card that is used ONLY for these joint, agreed upon expenses. He can write you a check at the end of the month for his half or other portion. You can still separately pay your car payments, student loans, etc. The mortgage and the rent can also be taken care of once a month by him writing you a check for his portion. This way your name is not getting tainted by his lack of financial responsibility and quite possibly you will be helping his credit at the same time. Now, if he doesn’t agree to this separation of the marital funds, then it’s time for Plan B. This one isn’t so simplistic and requires you balancing being a wife and the financial disciplinarian in the relationship, which takes practice and patience. You have to be very careful not to come across as his other mother, because that rarely goes over well with a man. They like to be in control and it hurts their egos when you attempt to take that control away from them. I would recommend that you set up a system prior to your wedding day so that it doesn’t feel to him like everything changed after the wedding. Start having weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss your all’s financial situation so he you all can begin to get on the same page when it comes to this important topic. These meetings would involve developing a budget, developing a plan to stay on budget, reviewing bank statements and bills, and long-term planning for large purchases. A lot of men tend to think that debit cards are like a never-ending stream of money and have no idea how much they spend every month. For these kinds of guys, develop a budget that allows for a planned amount of spending money each week and get that amount of cash out of the bank and have him leave the debit card at home. This way he can’t go over his budget without asking for more cash or stealing his debit card back. Again, you can’t allow this to become an issue of distrust and “Second Mother Syndrome” because that will surely wreck your finances and your relationship one bill at a time. Anything you ask of him should be done by you as well to foster a feeling of mutual respect and partnership. If the problems consist, consulting with a financial planner could be highly beneficial to your wallets as well as your relationship.