New York is an expensive place to live. High housing costs. High taxes. High day care costs. And often with that comes high debt, which can be a divisive factor in a marriage.
In fact, in a 2018 Couples & Money study done by Fidelity, nearly half of respondents said debt was the biggest source of discord between a couple. And it’s not something spouses can talk about easily, which means they don’t discuss financial priorities, living beyond their means or the need to stop spending money on things one member of the couple prioritizes, such as vacations that the other doesn’t take.
But talking about money – and taking action – could be key to saving a relationship, even if it means no longer being able to keep up with the Joneses. Couples can’t worry about what the other members of the country club think when the couple doesn’t renew their membership, or what the neighbors will think if they trade in the German sports car for a domestic compact car.
The first thing to do is gather all the monthly household bills, the credit card statements, the private school or day care records, and such and sit down together to talk about money. It’s difficult but necessary. Then, figure out a plan of how to pay off those debts.
If you’re having trouble doing that together, it might be time to call either a financial planner or a marriage counselor – or both. The first can help you set your financial priorities and figure out how to achieve them. The latter can help you see how money could have led to financial problems. And in fact, if you can come up with that financial plan and work on it together, achieving the goals could bring you closer together.
Sometimes, marriages are too far gone because of debt or other reasons to be salvaged. If you decide to divorce and are already being fully aware of your debts, you will be able to present a good summary of your finances to your divorce attorney. That will ultimately will help you divide those debts as you proceed.