All couples promise “for better or for worse… for richer or for poorer,” when they marry. However, it can be a challenge to actually survive being richer or poorer without financial management skills.
Money can become a top issue of which newlyweds end up fighting over. Consider openly discussing finances together, because it can be an essential ingredient to a long and happy marriage.
Sometimes in a marriage, one person is determined to manage money only his or her way, and it may not mesh well with the spouse’s methods. Others might take on all the responsibility or just put it entirely on their spouses. And then there are some that lie about their overspending habits, which can cause trust issues among the couple. Avoid these issues by adopting a few healthy financial habits.
Talk About Finances
Communicating your thoughts about spending is best to do before you get married. However, it’s never too late to talk about finances with your spouse. In the event that you failed to discuss the topic before your marriage, you should discuss the matter as soon as possible. Go through the accounts you have open and the debts you owe. Be clear on how you would like future money to be handled and then listen to your spouse’s suggestions. Together, you’ll be better equipped to make any necessary changes for a financially secure future.
Determine the Goals
Once you come up with your baseline financial status, discuss your long-term financial goals such as retiring at a certain age or paying off debts completely. Make sure that you write down your goals and review them regularly. By doing so, you’ll have a better chance of financial success.
Separate or Joint Accounts?
There are ups and downs of having joint accounts as well as maintaining individual accounts after marriage. Some may even opt for both types for certain situations. For example, your joint account may be strictly for bills and your individual account could be for personal expenses. There isn’t a right or wrong option because every couple is different. Deciding what’s best may take a conversation along with trial and error.
Make saving for an emergency fund one of your top priorities. Aim for saving at least six months household expenses for emergencies. It should be a priority; an emergency fund can bring security and help protect your relationship if some disaster or mishap arises.
Stay within a budget each month. Limit how much you can spend on a certain category. Review joint expenses for a few months so you can see how much you and your spouse have been spending, and whether you need to reduce the amount. Once you have done that, you can establish a limit on every category that impacts your monthly spending. Don’t forget to allocate some funds for surprise events.
Keep Track of Your Budget
Making a budget is a great step, but it isn’t enough. Ensure that you are staying within your spending limits and adjust your spending accordingly. An effective way of sticking to your budget is to make a spreadsheet that will track all of your monthly expenditures, to include recurring expenses like monthly bills, as well as additional spending, such as movies or birthday gifts. Consistently communicating about the budget will help you both keep track of your budget and avoid overspending. Never assume the other person took care of it, or that the other person is staying within the budget. It is better to ask so you both are on the same page.
Many marriages are affected by money issues, and unfortunately those issues can become long-term problems if proper measures are not taken. The best way to work through issues is to talk it out and plan a financial strategy together.