Marriage represents a time of joy and celebration. But the union of two people also means the union of two finances. When done properly, combining finances and marriage should not be an issue. When done poorly, this can lead to stress, disappointment, and fighting. The start of a new family is a great time to chart the financial course you will take for the rest of your life. With these money and marriage tips for newlyweds, you will be on your way to starting your marriage out on the right financial footing.
Money and marriage can be an uncomfortable combination for many people. Marriage is supposed to be first and foremost about love, so it can be awkward to bring up something so banal and potentially contentious as money. However, there is no getting around it. Money has to be discussed.
Talking about money within a relationship demonstrates an advanced level of trust. It involves opening up a side of your life that is vulnerable and potentially embarrassing. While it can seem uncomfortable first, opening up about your financial situation can actually mark a new level of trust within a relationship.
Making goals is an ideal way to start talking about money with your spouse (or future spouse) because it is a way to establish your financial values that is not as fraught with potential areas of conflict as budgeting. You and your spouse should talk about ideal retirement age, bucket list items such as vacations, large purchases like homes, desired level of income, savings goals, and lifestyle goals. This exercise is the first step in establishing a financial game plan for your future.
Make a Budget
This step is a little more difficult than making goals because you not only talk about what you want, but what you need to cut out. Creating a budget will require some negotiating and bargaining. This can lead to some low-level conflict. However, it is much better than having different expectations for how you will spend your money as a couple. It is also essential if you are going to have a financially disciplined future.
Create an Emergency Fund
As a single person, an emergency fund might seem like a luxury. After all, you can always fall back on moving into a cheap apartment and eating ramen for every meal. However when you get married, and especially if you are planning on having children, an emergency fund becomes necessary. When you are paying a mortgage and buying baby food, it isn’t as easy to scale back when times get tough, so having an emergency fund is always a good idea.
Few things can create as much stress in a marriage as growing debt. Establishing a pattern of debt is a bad habit to establish early in a marriage. Newlyweds should avoid debt as much as possible, and pay off any debt accumulated in previous years as quickly as possible. Some debt, such as student loans and mortgages, may be necessary, but avoid any debt that is not completely necessary.
Having a family is more expensive than you think. House repairs, retirement, children’s educations, medical bills, and similar expenses can stack up. It can be tempting to enjoy your life as fully as possible and live at the edge of your means when you are a newlywed. However, bigger expenses come quickly. Relieve yourself of stress later on and start saving early on in your marriage.