When you’re newly married, it’s easy to get swept up in the overwhelming feeling of bliss and knowing that you’ve found the person you’re meant to spend your life with.
Reality sets in, however. The financial implications of sharing everything with each other requires a lot of planning and ongoing attention. You automatically take on some of the financial burdens of the other person.
Today, we’re going to show you how to get your marriage off on the right foot with some money management tips. No matter how responsible you or your spouse have been in the past, this financial connection requires some preparation because it’s a different beast.
Money makes the world go ’round. While no one would want to say that it’s an integral part of their relationship, it has to be. Being financially irresponsible can put stress on your marriage and lead you down a dark road. Let us help you get prepped for this union.
Money Management Tips for Newlyweds
Some of these tips might seem obvious, but take them all seriously. Setting goals and being open is what great relationships are founded on, but the magic can quickly disappear when you’re not honest with one another.
At the end of the day, you both want to have a comfortable and happy life together. Every relationship is different, but following some of these general principles should help you avoid financial stress.
1. You Have to Communicate
Never keep your spending a secret from your spouse. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t each have your own spending money and do whatever you want with it, because a healthy relationship should have those freedoms.
Just be up-front about what you want to spend your personal dollars on. If your husband wants to buy a riding lawnmower, that’s fine, as long as it doesn’t infringe on any other expenses.
Some people make the mistake of getting hidden credit cards or having a bank account that the other party isn’t privy to. If your urge is to hide your spending habits from your spouse, it’ll eventually take a toll on your marriage.
2. Consider Your Individual and Collective Goals
Sitting down and talking about your individual financial goals is important — so important that you should consider doing it at least once a month, if not every time one of you gets paid. Knowing what your partner is saving for allows you to understand what’s important to them in the long-term.
If you’re not aiming to achieve common goals, then you’re probably not working efficiently as a team. The best way to talk about your goals is to approach them in terms of time. What is each of you aiming to get done in 5 years? 10 years? Before retirement?
Being able to discuss these goals and how to achieve them will make doing it that much easier.
3. Joint Accounts
Start weighing the pros and cons of opening a joint bank account. Some couples only use a joint bank account, while others don’t use them at all. If you want to, you can set up a joint account and continue to use your personal ones for personal spending.
It’s important to come to a consensus on this because it could end up being a point of contention one day. A joint account makes things a lot easier when it comes to paying bills, but it requires trust and understanding. Maintaining individual accounts makes it easier to hide purchases but also gives you both some freedom.
4. Supporting One Another
Supporting your spouse is a huge part of being married. Some require more emotional support, others require financial support. Understand that one person is always going to make more money, and if that’s you, that’s okay.
The fact of the matter is, life’s a tricky thing and people go through ups and downs in their careers. If you want to maintain a certain quality of life, you might occasionally need to put more money into the pot than your partner. Resenting your spouse for having less money will only lead to conflict.
5. Budget Accordingly
Creating a budget and reviewing it regularly can help in allowing you to keep financial stress at bay. If you’re putting money into a joint account, then take stock of where every single dollar is going.
Make a spreadsheet that you can adjust as your finances and expenses change. As you grow and save together, you’ll likely have more financial freedom. Things can come up, however, that may change your circumstances in a negative way as well.
Keep the budget flexible for when new expenses come up, or if income changes, and you you should be able to remain comfortable.
6. Emergency Fund
Start building an emergency fund as soon as you can afford to. This is separate from your joint bank account, which you’ll be using regularly for ongoing living expenses.
An emergency fund is set up to be the last resort in the event of a medical emergency, large-scale repairs on your property, or job loss. It’s so much better to have this money set aside so you don’t have to resort to using a credit card, which can have huge implications down the road.
You can take some of what’s left in your budget at the end of every month and put it in the emergency fund. Start small and let it grow over time.
7. Split Up Bill Responsibilities
As evenly as you can, split up the bill responsibilities. If you’ve got a joint account, you should still individually take care of certain things so that there’s an understanding of where the money goes.
If you don’t set up a joint account, it’s important to divvy up these responsibilities so that one person isn’t paying for everything.
When you’re young, you’re probably not thinking about retirement just yet. Retirement is one of the financial areas that you should keep your marriage out of. The truth is that you won’t necessarily be married forever, as the divorce rate could be considered still incredibly high in America.
One of you might have a much better 401k plan at work, and although it’s tempting, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of saving for one another’s retirement. This can help protect both of you in the end.
Trust Each Other
The financial side of marriage can complicate things in your relationship. As long as you communicate and trust one another, then you should be able to avoid any of the financial stress that puts pressure on some marriages.
Follow these money management tips and always be realistic about what you can afford and what your limitations are. The important thing is that you live comfortably and enjoy each other’s company for as long as possible.
If you need help developing a financial plan for your marriage, visit us at Dayton & Sydney. We are a wealth strategy group that offers a variety of services to help you improve and maintain your financial situation.
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