This one question can change how you make decisions, live your life, and handle your finances. Everyone should ask it…
Whose money is it?
If you are a believer in God, this question can be asked in this way:
Is it MY money or is it God’s Money?
Answering this question can have huge ramifications. It can totally change how you spend, save, and use your money. If it is God’s money, then it makes sense to ask, “What does God want me to do with it?”
The answer you come up with may be completely different compared to how you are currently using your money. Being a steward of God’s money becomes the focus instead of just doing what you want.
Are you married? If so, this question can be asked:
Is it MY money or is it OUR money?
Many think of the money they earn at their job as separate from their spouses money. Mine is mine, yours is yours.
As people get married later in life, it is common to have two mature financial situations coming into a marriage. Each person has supported themselves for years and it doesn’t occur to them that much has changed after they tie the knot. Especially if the couple lived with one another before marriage.
They go on, financially speaking, the same way they have before the marriage.
Bills are separate. One spouse will have bills that they are responsible for and the other spouse will have their own bills. For example, the mortgage is MY bill and the student loan is HER responsibility. It is MY income and HER income. Savings accounts are separate.
I have friends who say that keeping money separate keeps them from conflict. It is just easier that way and they would probably get into more arguments if they combined their finances.
Others keep their money separate with the exception of an account that they pay bills out of. Each spouse puts an amount of money into the account that they pay rent/mortgage, utilities, etc out of -- things that influences each of them.
My money, YOUR money, and OUR money so to speak.
What Has Worked For Us
My wife and I have decided that all money and income is in the OUR money bucket. I think this way naturally follows the very point of marriage that you give up your single identity and a new married identity is formed… two become one.
I also believe in the power to work as one. When it is OUR money and we have set financial goals that are OURS, we are more likely to be working together and the progress we will make is greater. In fact, this power can be amazing! I have seen it in our clients’ experience and I have experienced myself.
Regardless of my beliefs, it is a good idea for couples to ask the question and honestly discuss it with each other. If there is major disagreement around this question years of conflict can ensue. In fact, discussing this question may reveal the root of a lot of money conflict in a marriage. Any disagreement in views around this hopefully will be discussed with empathy towards the other and worked out so a workable plan for both can be set up.
If you would like other questions that would be good for couples to discuss around the subject of money get them HERE.
In my family, we have felt it helpful to clearly identify how we think about our money resources:
First and foremost, it is God’s money. He has for whatever reason blessed us with these resources. We strive to be good stewards.
Second, all wealth and income that He has allowed us to attain is ours as a couple to decide together what to do with it. There is no his and her money.
Lastly, we have chosen to designate an equal small amount of our income each month that each of us has power to do with whatever we want. No guilt spending money. We find this allows us important freedom and is healthy for our marriage.
This has helped us get our money decisions more in line with our values and strengthened our marriage. Sometimes we fail to keep this structure in mind as we handle our money, but talking about money as a couple frequently helps us to bring us back to focus when we get away from the ideal.
So, I challenge you to be honest and ask the question:
Whose money is it?