In the United States, 59 percent of marriages fail.
Like a coin toss except your brother has weighted the heads side and you owe him a coke every time. Dang.
So it looks like your choice is stay married or die.
Trust me, this is good science. No need to check the numbers.
Because currently staying married sounds more attractive to me than death, I decided to research ways not to get divorced. Google seemed like a great place to start.
One of the most cited causes of divorce was finances. Apparently how much you make and what you spend it on is a big deal when two become one bank statement.
I first assumed this statistic must be due to the puppyin-the-purse, Daddy’s credit card carrying, money/power/new clothes hungry, gold diggers marrying to get a new Visa.
I know I’m hungry a lot and I really liked the idea of inheriting Steven’s lap top, but that makes me more of a cookie-craving mac-digger I assume. Neither of which were on the divorce-causes list.
And even if I ever did carry Daddy’s credit card, it wasn’t going to get me much more than lunch. Definitely not a new monogrammed sweater for Princess Spot. I don’t even like dogs. That’s another post.
Anyways. I was wrong about the exclusivity of financially fueled fights. Research shows that money is an issue in most marriages, regardless of your income bracket. But don’t start filing the divorce papers yet. Follow these steps and greatly reduce your risk of relationship ruin. Read on.
The best place to start is to completely merge your finances, according to an article in Smart Money. Meaning either sharing one bank account or keeping two with both names, however it works best for you. When Steven and I started merging money I gave him full access privileges to the cash mug I kept in my underwear drawer. (A great banking system I started in high school. I’ve never over-drafted. Flexible after-hours availability.)
Once mug and accounts are accessible to both parties, the next step in the marital counselor’s financial session is making a budget together.
According to personal finance writer Miriam Caldwell, in order to budget successfully, you must first determine what the household needs are.
The next step is to determine how you define need. I need food, shelter, transportation and a pumpkin spice latte every-other day or so, depending on my schedule. And a weekly massage but my live-in masseuse came with my marriage. MoGo (marry-one, get-one).
But in all seriousness, most people will need to budget in items like rent, utilities, tithes, debt and insurance payments plus any amount they want to put away before factoring in the luxury items. Which are different depending on the person and their binge popcorn eating habits at the movies or accidental trips to the hair salon. Or white chocolate chip blueberry scone purchases. Which sometimes have to be honored and accepted, even if not understood.
If all this still confuses you, there is still hope. Not a lot. But some. Using a budget program can be helpful and if you can turn on a computer you can find one. Try using mint.com or Kiplinger or a Number’s template – the budgeting and spreadsheet program for Mac – or Xcel for Windows.
Don’t risk not seeing the marriage for the money. Figuring out the numbers will allow you more time to figure out each other. Which could take a lot longer, but should be a lot more fun. I’ve yet to find a spreadsheet that looked as good shirtless.
Too much information.