First Person: What I Learned from the Bad Money Habits in My Marriage

Yahoo Contributor Network

My ex-husband and I had many issues when it came to money in our marriage. This led to many fights and was part of the reason why we divorced. A big part of the problem was that we ended up in a routine of bad money habits that has had lasting consequences for both of us.

Routinely Overspending

We overspent our income at least four times a year. Rather than saving up for things that we wanted like new clothes, we put it on credit cards. The biggest problem with this was that we did not pay off the credit card on a monthly basis. This meant that we constantly had credit card debt and it was always increasing. After seven years of marriage, we had over $20,000 in credit card debt. Some simple self control would have helped eliminate this problem. The lesson I learned from this was that if you do not have the money currently in your account to pay for something, you should not buy it.

Not Properly Tracking Our Money

We never had a budget; we simply spent the money as it came in. This meant that sometimes we spent too much money during a month, leading to too much month and not enough money. This led to paying bills at the last minute and sometimes even being late on them. This caused fighting and stress in our marriage. If we had simply properly tracked our income and expenses, we could have avoided many of the money issues in our marriage. A list of what bills we had, when they were due and when our paychecks came in as well as how much they were would have helped us plan out our financial life better. I now have a budget and track my income and expenses every month.

Not Saving Enough

We never saved enough money for anything. We did not have an emergency fund, did not routinely save for retirement, and did not save up money for major purchases. We constantly lived paycheck to paycheck. Saving should have been something that we put into our budget every month. I now have an emergency fund and I save up for major purchases.

These bad money habits have had long term consequences for both of us even though we are no longer married. The debt that we accumulated during our marriage followed us after our divorce. Our lack of savings left both of us financially vulnerable and unprepared for single life. The lack of retirement savings also means that we will both have to either work longer or save a lot more for retirement now. Learning how to undo these bad habits has taken me several years and I still have issues with some of them.

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