Financial transparency is the first step in creating a trust-based relationship with your soon-to-be spouse. When you get married, you become responsible for each other’s’ debts. It’s not fair to your partner if you have bad spending habits and don’t pay your bills on time. They’re going to trust that you’ll be responsible with joint bank accounts and credit cards. If they don’t have a reason to keep an eye on your spending, they won’t notice until it’s too late.
It would be nice if all newlyweds were gifted with a financial bliss box to make money management easy, but that’s something you’ll need to create with your partner.
Marital success starts with honesty. Instead of hiding your financial habits from your fiancé, be open about it. Trust is built on transparency, and you can’t have a strong relationship without trust.
1. Financial Transparency Eliminates Suspicion:
Some people are naturally suspicious of gifts and items with price tags that don’t match the giver’s salary. For example, say you bought your fiancé a vintage diamond ring. If they think pushing papers at a desk job is your only source of income, you’ve got some explaining to do. Perhaps you won’t need to explain until after the excitement wears down, but if you’ve got side sources of income or a large savings account, your partner needs to know.
You can’t control what stories another person will create in their minds about where you got the money. Did you take out a loan and go into more debt? Sell your car? Borrow from your parents? Steal it? Regardless, your partner will know there’s something you’re not telling them, and that isn’t a good way to start a lifelong relationship.
They may have no reason to be concerned, but they don’t know that. Be transparent with extra sources of income. Don’t let your partner worry about whether you’re working for the mob or are just a master penny pincher. There’s no need to withhold that information in a partnership.
2. Transparency is an Opportunity to Strengthen Weak Financial Habits:
Acknowledging to your partner that you’re not good with finances creates an opportunity to improve your financial habits. When you get married, your financial habits will affect more than just your own life, so you need to transform those bad habits.
Being transparent allows you to ask for help from your partner. Say you’re someone who never pays their bills on time despite having the funds available. You collect late fees everywhere you go, and your credit card interest rates are sky high. If your partner has developed opposite habits – paying bills on time or early – they can teach you better habits and skills.
3. Being Transparent with Finances Gives you Less to Argue Over:
Research shows 70% of divorced couples cite money as the cause for the divorce. The couples most likely to divorce due to finances are the couples who fight daily or weekly about money. However, other research says it’s not really the money they’re fighting over. Some couples argue about everything, and money is just one chosen subject. Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp discuss this issue in-depth in a Motley Fool podcast.
Being transparent with your partner gives them less to hold against you later during an argument. If they feel like picking a fight, they’ll have to choose a subject other than finances.
4. Financial Transparency Gives you Peace and Satisfaction:
Your level of satisfaction in your marriage depends on the level of transparency you have with your partner. A confusing relationship with uncertainty and distrust around every corner isn’t enjoyable. Who wants to stay up until 1 am waiting for their spouse to come home, wondering where they’ve been, and not believing them when they say they were working late?
Any level of secrecy in a relationship fosters distrust and anxiety. Transparency creates trust, and trust creates peace. Peace of mind makes it possible to go to bed even when your partner hasn’t come home yet.
5. Transparency Increases Intimacy:
Everyone wants an intimate relationship with their spouse. However, not everyone’s willing to proactively develop that intimacy. Especially when it requires showing a lack of responsibility with former debts.
Developing intimacy means sacrificing your need to look good or be right, and instead, be transparent. Being transparent with your finances means being vulnerable in expressing the truth. Being truthful and vulnerable will strengthen your bond and increase your level of intimacy in the relationship.
When you’re transparent with your partner, you can build the kind of relationship you’ve always dreamed of.