The key to successfully managing money and marriage

A recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) regarding money and marriage resulted in some alarming statistics. According to the results, 68 percent of respondents indicated they would feel uncomfortable discussing money with their future spouse. And five percent indicated the conversation would be so unpleasant, it would cause them to call off the wedding.

I don't know about you, but I find these numbers to be pretty alarming — on a few levels. 

  • First, if we’re handling our finances in a way that we already know others wouldn’t approve of, that’s a red flag. It’s time to reassess and reprioritize.
  • Second, we all know you can’t avoid “the talk” for too long. And if two people who are entering into a life-long commitment can’t communicate about serious subjects (no matter how unpleasant they are!), then they are setting themselves up for failure.

The key to a happy marriage lies in communication. And the key to good communication is trust. So ultimately, if you don’t trust your partner enough to believe that you could persevere through a tough conversation, there are likely some underlying issues that need to be addressed BEFORE walking down the aisle.

Don’t get me wrong, I know from personal experience that discussing finances is rarely (if ever!) a pleasant conversation. But I also know it’s a necessary conversation.

Being the daughter of a psychologist whose specialty is marriage counseling, I had it hammered into my head from a young age that open, honest communication (which also requires listening!) is important for a healthy relationship. Yet, even with that knowledge, I can tell you that 90 percent of the fights my husband (of only 10 months, mind you!) and I have had, are related to finances. So trust me, I get it!

But I also know that with every conversation, we get more comfortable talking about those hard-hitting money issues. And in the long run, it has helped to make our relationship stronger.

So whether you’re engaged, a newlywed or you’ve been married for 35 years, there’s still a lot you can do to improve your finances – and ultimately, your relationship. You just have to start talking.

Download our Love and Money eBook for more tips about starting the conversation, as well as tools and resources to help manage your finances as a couple.

How do you approach the topic of finances in your relationship? Any tips, tricks or strategies? Share your thoughts by commenting on this post!

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.