Lack of finances can be one of the biggest issues in marriages. As a couple you want to believe that love conquers all, but there are many factors that can rip apart a couple who are in love, sometimes even leading to divorce. Through my personal experiences, I have realized the importance of strategic planning and now fully appreciate the importance of having short, intermediate, as well as long term goals. Most importantly, I learned the importance of putting God first in your life.
Many times we underestimate the impact that finances can have on the progression of a relationship. However, what happens when you are both not on the same financial level? What happens when you have a partner who does not believe in setting goals, is not a planner and just lives for the moment? This can be frustrating, especially for someone who is an organized planner. I must admit that I tend to be a planner and I like things organized a certain way, but sometimes my husband does not operate the same way, which can be extremely frustrating. This is where you have to work together to create a positive financial plan.
How can you improve your finances or ensure that they remain in a positive standing?
- Consistently review your finances. Utilize a financial budget worksheet that gives you a snapshot of your household expenditures, to encourage a discussion. Are there areas of expenditure that needs to be modified? What about saving as a couple. How can you achieve that?
- Set Goals. These goals can be short term, long term and intermediate. Whether it is purchasing a home, buying a car or going on a vacation, you have to make plans towards obtaining these things. For me, I always plan at least a year in advance when it comes to vacations, road trips etc.
- Analyze your credit. What is your current credit score? Get your annual credit scores and discuss how you can improve them (if needed).
- Develop a plan. Whether it is to improve your finances by saving more money, changing your job or going back to school, you MUST have a plan!
- Put God First. Pay your Tithes. According to Malachi 3:10 “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
These are just guidelines and not every guideline will apply to your situation, but if you have lost your way as a couple, start to talk about your finances. Communicate your concerns and discuss solutions that can be implemented. I periodically evaluate our finances and even though it is not always where we want it, if we are able to identify the problem in a timely manner, we can implement an effective strategy. For me, January is a great time to select new goals or try to bring old goals into fruition. This is done by analyzing the prior year and having a game plan for the upcoming year.
It might seem impossible, especially when your bills are higher than your income, when you feel like your credit is damaged beyond repair and you and your partner are not working as a team, Just:
- Enroll in a credit repair agency
- Speak with your bank/ financial advisor
- Look for promotions within your workplace or ways to make some extra income
- Try to save at least 10% of your salary
- Instead of needlessly spending your income taxes on unnecessary items, save it.
- Use coupons and take advantage of sale/clearance items when shopping
- If you cannot have 6 months saved up to cover your bills, set a target that you want to save. For example, “for the year 2017, I want to save $10,000.”You can either save it yourself, or speak with your bank to have them deduct a certain amount every 2 weeks or month into a savings account.
Understand that no plan is perfect without God. Continue to pray for wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Seek guidance in all things that you do and eventually it will all turn around in a positive way.
Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
Peace and Love,