“Financial Tips for Newly Married Couples“
Discussing finances is hardly a romantic idea for newly married couples but it is essential for any serious relationship. So many couples stick with their own individual way of managing money, which may or may not mesh with how their spouse handles things. Ideally you would have had some serious talks about how you both view money before tying the knot, but nonetheless there are some important steps to take once you’re in it; for better or worse. In this post we will look over some helpful ideas to focus on once your honeymoon is over.
Have Money Talks
This might sound overly simple, but the reality is that so many couples simply don’t talk about money and finances. This can be for many different reasons, but especially true if money is tight at the end of every month. Who wants to rehash an already tense topic? Despite the desire to gloss over money conversations, like most things, if it’s difficult it’s usually worth it. Once you start the conversation, you’ll want to go over what accounts you currently have, how much debt you carry, and how you want/expect money to be handled now that two have become one (Again, we highly encourage these conversations to take place well before the wedding day). Will we keep separate bank accounts? Will we combine everything? How should we decide on major purchases? It’s important to voice your expectations and come to an agreement that can be revisited throughout the relationship.
Write Down Your Goals
Here we are focusing on our goals that we expect will require some financial commitment. This can be a more exciting conversation than the first, since it gives you an opportunity to dream together about what the future could look like. It’s a good idea to split these goals between short- and long-term desires so that you accomplish things together in the near future but also have things to look forward to down the track. Once you have a set of goals, you can begin to prioritize them and develop a detailed plan of action to accomplish each one. This is where the help of a financial professional can be invaluable.
Develop a Budget and Track Your Spending
Once you’re discussing money on a regular basis and have developed short- and long-term goals, it is essential to develop a budget together. What will your income and expenses look like now that things are combined? Are there areas we need to cut back in order to ensure we have funds remaining to achieve the goals we put in place? These are not easy answers for an individual, let alone a married couple, but everyone must start somewhere. It will take time to refine your budget and get accurate about how and where each of you spend so be sure to have some grace for your spouse. Nobody is perfect, and ultimately the budget should be something that frees you up rather than promotes confinement. In our experience, it usually takes 3 to 4 months before couples get an accurate picture of their budget. Throughout the month make sure you track progress on your spending through one of the many apps now available.
Remember, as a married couple you are now a team and that is a really powerful concept. Marriage can be a huge blessing for so many reasons, and finances are included. Whether you are considering marriage, newly married yourself, or have been married for many years, these concepts and discussion points can be helpful at any stage. If you and your spouse are serious about getting a handle on your finances then reach out to us today for a conversation.