Did Money Make a Difference in My Marriage Decision?

The following is a post by staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers living expenses, saving for your future, and the fun stuff along the way.

Short answer…YES. I understand that love should have very little to do with money, but marriage to me is a life long partnership. That partnership is just easier if the two involved agree on goals in life, including the monetary ones.

I have heard way too many awful stories about a husband or wife hiding huge purchases, opening secret credit cards, or hiding huge sums of debt. These sound like absolute nightmares to me.

When I started dating, it was so I could meet my future husband. I didn’t date just to have a good time or with the idea that I was young and could just mess around. I knew that I wanted a solid marriage that could be based on honesty, sympathy, and a huge dose of initimateness, lol. Secret debt or a partner that would work against our mutual goals of financial security were not options in my mind.

Thankfully, Mr. BFS would never jeopardize our future by hiding spending or making purchases we can’t afford. I won’t either. Do we ever argue about money? Of course. We aren’t the same people so we do disagree on the specifics once in a while. BUT, we completely agree on our long-term needs and goals, which is why we work so well on saving together.

For example, we both want early financial independence. Call it retirement. Call it semi-retirement. We want to be able to choose our daily schedules by the time we hit 52. That means we have about 25 years to save up our target 2 million dollars between my 401(k), our Roth IRA, and our Scottrade account. We are planning on my husband’s pension being our starting point when we decide on our retirement budget and the rest being used to fill in any cracks.

That goal is important enough for us to save 30-40% of our total take-home pay. My husband or I would be devestated if either one of did something that ruined that dream. The fact that I know that we are in it together gives me the security I need to enjoy life.

Would he leave me or would I leave him if one of us ever forgets who the heck we are and hides away $50,000 in credit card debt? Probably. I know it is not the most romantic idea, but who wants to stay married to a liar?

My favorite example of my ideal marriage would be my husband’s grandparents. After many conversations with his grandma, I found that arguments are normal and communication is key. They talk about everything and budget together. They even have their own small stashes (not secret) to spend at will. They are where I hope Mr. BFS and I still are in 50 years. :-)

What do you think? Am I being young and naive? I have only been married for 5 years, so what do you more experienced people think?

13 Responses to Did Money Make a Difference in My Marriage Decision?

  1. Evan says:

    Great story Crystal. I really believe that choosing the correct spouse can change completely alter all aspects of your future. The correct spouse has to meet your goals and objectives not your buddy’s.

    Does Mr. BFS know how much you appreciate him lol

  2. Sandy L says:

    Agreed. It almost doesn’t matter what they spend the money on. If it’s done in secret, that’s bad news.

    My husband and I have our own fun money that we use as needed, but even if we’d be cool with a big purchase the other one wants to make, I’d still expect the courtesy of informing me about it.

    I think a person’s relationship with money can effect all aspects of their life. I can’t imagine it not being an important criteria. The absolute number someone earns or spends is not important. What’s important is if they are living within their means.

    • @Sandy L, exactly! Even though we do both have our own fun money, we still keep each other in the loop when we’re spending it. I like that. I don’t feel like I’m asking permission (and I don’t think he does either), just involving my husband in my choices…it feels right to me.

  3. Khaleef @ KNS Financial says:

    Well, I’ve only been married for 4 years, but I completely agree. I think that all those things should be figured out before a dating relationship gets too serious. Talk about parenting styles, financial goals, religious beliefs, ideal retirements, etc before you decide to get married! Those things are silent killers for many marriages!

  4. Nicole says:

    I’ve been married for >10, been with DH for 16.

    We never fight about money. Initially neither of us had any and he never worried his pretty little head over it. But he does do the taxes, so we were on the same page at least once a year. He’s been much more proactive about money since last year as he’s been seeing the benefits of having a lot of savings (he also read your money or your life).

    One of the things that’s so attractive about him is his steadfast responsibility. I can’t see that really meshing with being a spendthrift. So in that respect I guess it mattered. But if it were just money, I was so head over heels in love (and still am) that I probably would have married him anyway. I’m not really rational when it comes to DH, but that’s ok because he’s perfect so it works out.

    • @Nicole, awwwww…that’s awesome. I’m so glad you found your perfect mate! So you don’t think that his being great with money is a major reason you think he’s perfect overall?

      • Nicole says:

        @Crystal @ BFS, Before I married him he spent all the money he had (but no more… well, technically he had student loans that he wasn’t paying down early, but he just hadn’t thought about that possibility). After we married he spent nothing and was miserable. So we hit upon the allowance– he can spend his entire allowance without hurting our finances.

        So, not so great with money before he married the right spouse. But better than a lot of 22 year olds.

  5. Sandy @ yesiamcheap says:

    I’m glad that you said it. Money does make a difference whether we want to admit it or not. No one wants to be shackled to someone with incompatible dreams and aspirations. Knowing your potential spouse’s level of financial fitness should factor into making a decision what (hopefully) will last a lifetime.

    • @Sandy @ yesiamcheap, right! I think one of the coolest things about being married is having a partner through it all – incompatibility would make this a weakness instead of a strength in my opinion.

  6. Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black says:

    I think you are very wise! I went into our marriage with my eyes wide shut when it came to finances. Fortunately, the way we handle finances generally reflects our values and principles, so there were no huge surprises… That being said, we definitely would have been better off if we had had some serious money conversations before we got married! It would have saved so much time in the long run — and I can say that since it’s now 16 years later, and counting. :)

    • @Jolyn@Budgets are the New Black, congrats on making it work even if you may not have discussed everything in advance. Being able to work through the stuff that flies your way in relationships is even more important than making sure to cover absolutely everything first…at least you know you can handle it!

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