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How Long Can You Last?

Did you date your spouse when you were young?

Are you in your twenties in a relationship and thinking about marriage?

Do you think you’ll save and invest by the time you’re 50 as you and your partner create a life together?

Marriage and MoneyHave you made plans to do this? What are your financial plans for 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 years of marriage?

Maybe you don’t have financial plans but you just know by the time your 50 years old you’ll both have saved so much money, contributed so much to your retirement plan and started other types of investment plans that you’ll be financially okay.

The Story

In the past month I’ve seen three couples I know, in or around 50 year olds and have been together for 25-30 years, who argue about the money they don’t have.

One spouse commenting to me that, “If things don’t change soon, I’ll have to do something.” What does that mean? The way it was told to me, it means resentment. It sounded like possible separation and even divorce.

It means not being part of the relationship that made sure they were saving and investing over the past 25-30 years so it wouldn’t get to this point. No financial plans except hoping for the best.

Disagreements for 25-30 years on where the money should be spent. “We’ll have money like our parents do and have acquired.” Well, these couples are parents of teenagers, college-aged, and working adult kids.

Some attributes these couples shared over their 25-30 years of marriage:

  • young
  • in love
  • always together
  • struggling
  • in debt
  • graduating from college
  • new jobs
  • employer retirement account
  • marriage
  • in debt
  • kids
  • new house
  • cars
  • vacations
  • in debt
  • Christmas gifts no one would forget
  • up-to-date clothes for the family – no matter what
  • paid weddings for their kid(s) by way of second mortgage or any other bad debt vehicle – “Don’t worry, you’ll have a great wedding – no matter what”
  • taking care of friends and family in diverse financial ways – buying them something to help them out, etc.
  • paying for their adult kids who are married now – their utilities, housing, cars, etc.
  • giving to charities
  • tithing
  • in debt

This kind of story repeats for so many couples and generations it’s kind of crazy to watch and hear about. It’s like a collective, unspoken agreement that this is the way it is.

So what will happen to some of these couples? I don’t know. The love is almost lost with some of them, but not gone. It can be saved, fixed and corrected. It will take work and understanding.

The Future

Young folks can visualize what the future looks like but if you don’t take actions and implement those actions in such a way that covers your financial future long term, you’ll end up carrying out some of the same scenarios that have happened for years, over and over again to so many people.

What financial goals do you want to hit and how are you going to get there? What alternative plans can you put into place so you hit them.

How about the plans on how you’re going to feel about your spouse when you don’t hit those financial goals. Are you going to blame them? Ban them for life as to say, “It’s your fault”?

How do both of you feel about the attributes above? Can you agree on how they should happen? When? How much? Do they have to happen?

Financial problems between couples is one of the most debilitating attributes that cause divorce and destruction in families. Treat it as if a train is coming down the track and your best friend or family member is standing on the tracks. What would you do? You’d do everything you could to get that person off the tracks.

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