You just got married, but you may now realize that so did your finances. One of you is a big spender and one is a saver! How in the world will you make it work? Especially now that many people are getting married in their 30’s and 40’s for the first time, what should you be doing money wise? Here are 7 tips on money strategies for your new marriage.
1. Create Separate Accounts and One Joint Account:
To mingle or not to mingle your money is one of the most important decisions the two of you need to make regarding your finances. Having your own money that you can spend however you want can lessen arguments about money. We disagree that having separate joint accounts lessens the sense of unity in marriage and shows a lack of trust in one another.
2. Track How You Are Spending Money:
Tracking your spending is not a way to point fingers at one another as to who is spending what. Tracking your spending is not having someone looking over your shoulder every time you buy something. Tracking your spending is critical to being financially secure. Unless you know where your money is going, it is impossible to set up a budget and set financial goals you are both comfortable with.
3. Discuss Finances Together On A Regular Basis:
Sure, talking about money isn't easy because money can symbolize different things to each partner. One may view money as security and the other as power. If the topic of debt, bills, savings, and goals makes one or both of you uncomfortable or defensive, seek the help of a financial counselor or planner. It is important that both of you know where you stand financially and have common financial goals.
4. Save At Least 10% Of Your Income:
Couples living month-to-month often rationalize that they just don't have enough money to save. Make the decision to save at least 10% of your income. After saving enough cash as an emergency fund, invest in a retirement account. The earlier the two of you start saving money for your retirement years, the easier it will be to have a retirement lifestyle that you both hope for.
5. Handle Debt As A Couple:
Make a plan to pay off existing debt. Drawing a line in the sand and saying that your spouse's debt isn't your problem is not going to work because even if the debt existed before you married, your credit rating can be negatively impacted as well as the bottom line of how much money the two of you are paying monthly in interest charges.
6. Decide On A Bill Paying Strategy:
Maybe you had a house and your partner had one as well. You were both used to paying your own bills. Now that you are living together, and your bills are combined, get clear as a couple on who will pay what bill and which bank account the money is going to come out of each month. This will absolutely reduce friction in your relationship over time by having clear expectations.
7. Don’t Keep Big Financial Secrets:
Not being honest about the cost of large financial purchases or keeping debts hidden is considered financial infidelity by many people. Such secrets can destroy your marriage.