Lou Scatigna, a.k.a. The Financial Physician, has a message for married couples: pay your bills together.
Couples who can’t agree about money are doomed to divorce, says Scatigna, who has worked as a financial counselor since 1983. To save your pennies and your marriage, you need to have both partners involved in handling the family finances.
To ensure this, he advises that couples sit down one evening a month and pay all the household bills together. Even if, like me, you’ve automated most of your bills with an electronic bill pay system, you still want to look at each one every month. Doing it together helps you both know what’s up with your money.
Scatigna says families benefit from this approach because:
- It keeps both partners honest and accountable. When you’re doing all the bills together, it’s harder to hide credit card debt or justify spending a little extra on lattes this month. You have to face up to not only the bank but your sweetie.
- You become a team. Saving can become a fun game, instead of a tiresome chore.
- It protects both of you from being left in the dark should something happen to the financially savvy partner. You don’t want to be learning to pay bills (or even trying to figure out what bills you have to pay) while your spouse is terribly ill or worse.
How does your family handle finances? Is it a team effort, or does partner do all the work? Are you happy with the system you have?