PLANNING FOR MARRIAGE AND THE FUTURE STAGES OF LIFE
Getting married is an exciting time for any couple. It’s the beautiful prospect of waking up every day next to your best friend and sharing your lives and home together. But there are some tricky avenues of a new marriage to tackle, such as learning to live with each other’s house-habits.
Another area that may be a little tricky to talk about is how to merge your finances.
Some couples may feel uncomfortable talking about how much money they make or how they like to spend it. Others are completely open about their financial lives. How easy it is for you depends on how well you and your spouse are able to communicate with one another.
Talk about your finances
Get the ball rolling, you and your spouse must be willing to open up about your personal finances. It can be very helpful to talk about your spending and saving habits and how you grew up viewing money. Having this discussion can help couples understand what financial standpoint their spouse is coming from.
Talking about money also means talking about any debts you have accumulated.
This can be uncomfortable or even embarrassing, but it’s important for your spouse to know what, if any, debts you are bringing into the marriage.
Not only is this helpful for circumstances where your debt becomes a shared debt after marriage, but it can also help you decide as a couple how to pay off anything that you owe as partners.
Figure out a money management system
What financial advice you follow regarding money management is different for each and every couple. Do you have a “what’s mine is yours” attitude about finances or would you prefer to keep separate bank accounts? There are pros and cons to having a shared bank account vs. keeping things separate, and vice-versa.
You and your spouse need to find out which works best for you.
If you decide to keep your accounts and income separate, you must decide how you will split bills, mortgage, insurance, and other monthly payments for your marital home.
Decide on a monthly budget
In order to have a successful merging of finances, you and your spouse need to sit down together as a couple and decide on a monthly budget. Markdown your shared monthly income as well as a list of your monthly expenses.
After deducting your expenses from your income pool, decide how to ration what is left.
Remember not to forget about your monthly spending allowances when making your budget. This “fun money” allows you and your spouse to have a measure of financial freedom. This money can be used to pursue hobbies and interests etc.
Start saving money
One of the best pieces of financial advice for after getting married is to start making a shared bank account.
Newlyweds are eager to plan their lives together and they will need money to make their dreams a reality.
- Starting a family – Putting away money for starting a family can be very beneficial in reducing financial stress once the baby arrives.
- Buying a home together – Whether a couple is planning to start a family or not, many dream of the day when they will be able to buy their first home. Saving for the deposit on a home together is a wise course of action.
- Putting money aside for emergencies – You never know when an unforeseen occurrence such as sickness, home and car maintenance or sudden loss of job will affect your family income. Having money saved for the unexpected will help you and your spouse feel safe and secure about your future.
- Keep communication open – Deciding on a budget is the easy part, sticking to it is where things get hard. Make sure you practice open communication and don’t shy away from talking to your spouse about money matters. Many couples find it helpful to have a monthly “financial marriage check-in” to see how things are going financially. Here you can celebrate small victories you’ve made in saving money, paying off debts or spending less that month.
- Work as a team – After getting married, you and your spouse are officially partners in all things — love, life, finances. Keep this in mind when communicating about money matters. Learn how to problem-solve effectively.