When marrying we go through many changes in addition to sharing a household. Your finances will change and financial plans should reflect that. Although this might take some getting used to, it shouldn’t be particularly challenging, especially if you’re working as a team with your spouse.
It’s best not to beat around the bush with questions related to money. This is especially true when considering shared money. At some point, you will have to ask yourselves some money questions—questions that pertain not only to your shared finances but also to your individual finances. Waiting too long to ask (or answer) those questions might carry a price. It’s quite difficult to have bills paid without some semblance of a plan in place. In the 2019 TD Bank Love & Money survey of consumers who said they were in relationships, 40% of younger couples described having weekly arguments about their finances.1
First off, how will you set priorities?
One of your first priorities should be simply setting aside money that may help you build an emergency fund, one that will account for both of you individually as well as joint expenses. It’s a common issue that newly married couples and new homeowners do not have enough money in their emergency fund to cover their new expenses. There are other questions to ask though. Namely, should you open joint accounts? Should you jointly title assets? This is a highly personal question and the answer that’s right for the couple would be based on many variables. The decision can be based on deeply rooted values or simply because of a minor causality.
How to Get a Fresh start?
The way that money is spent changes just as the way the partners spend time changes. For example, depending on the choice of housing, each partner may spend less money in this area since the cost is now divided between the two of them. Money may also transfer categories within genres. Speaking of fresh starts this may be the perfect time to address an over reliance on fast food. Now that there are two people to cook it becomes much easier to eat at home. For this reason restaurants and groceries should be considered different categories on your budget.
How much will you spend & save?
Budgeting can help you arrive at your answer, but the first step is to list your current expenses. This might take some thought, many expenses are often forgotten about such as subscriptions and others can be difficult to put a pin on. It’s important that the couple is honest with each other about the money they make and spend if they plan to be not only partners in marriage, but also financial partners. Once you’ve done that you’ll have some options. You can develop a simple budget or an elaborate budget, but any attempt at a budget can prove more informative than none at all. A thorough, line-item budget may seem a little over the top, but what you learn from it may be truly eye-opening.
How often will you check up on your financial progress?
When finances affect two people rather than one, credit card statements and bank balances become more important. Checking in on these details once a month when your bills are due (or at least once a quarter) can keep you both informed, so that neither one of you have misconceptions about household finances or assets. Arguments can start when money misunderstandings are upended by reality.
What degree of independence do you want to maintain?
Do you want to keep some money separate? Some spouses need individual financial “space” of their own. There is nothing wrong with this approach. You should ask yourself to what degree is sharing necessary in your relationship. Especially if one partner is a higher earner, a future argument may be created by both partners leading different lifestyles.
Can you be businesslike about your finances?
Spouses who are inattentive or nonchalant about financial matters may encounter more financial trouble than they anticipate. So, watch where your money goes, and think about ways to pay yourselves first rather than your creditors. Set shared short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives, and strive to attain them.
Looking forward to retirement
Both hope to retire happily together when they’re ready. It’s crucial to have conversations surrounding retirement to ensure they will not only have adequate funds, but also don’t face unforeseen challenges such as paying excessive taxes due to lack of planning.
Communication is key to all this.
Watching your progress together may well have benefits beyond the financial, so a regular conversation should be a goal.
PRO Financial Network now offers a milestone financial planning package that caters directly to newly married couples. Visit the link to our website for more information on included features and pricing
Michael G.Romanello is a registered representative of and offers Securities through Independence Capital Company Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. 5579 Pearl Road, Suit 100 Cleveland, OH 44129
Investment Advisory Services offered through Independence Capital Company Inc.
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
1. newscenter.td.com, October 2, 2019