Do you take this man, in debt and in overspending, in saving and in retirement? It’s wedding season again and newlyweds are starting their life together after the honeymoon.
Here are four money mistakes that couples make:
You’ve married your homes, your families and your holidays – but what about your money? It’s not an easy transition to suddenly share your money. I get it. It’s important to have the money talk early – even before the wedding – and to set a budget. Your budget should include your debt payments (student loans, car, credit cards), your savings goals (vacation, retirement, home) and your spending (coffee, shoes, golf).
Foster trust by avoiding money secrets. Set financial expectations and limitations and stick to them. Bring all your financial obligations to the table – preferably before the wedding – so that you know what you’ll both be responsible for down the road. Then, as time goes on, make sure you both have access to your accounts. It can help control spending, contributions to savings and an accurate understanding of your financial picture.
No Separate Accounts
Marriage doesn’t mean you have to share everything – does it? Well, no. You should decide what’s right for you. Not all married couples keep all their money entirely together, especially those who both have careers or sources of income.
Here’s one idea: Keep three accounts. If your husband makes 40% of the income and you make 60%, you could each contribute that portion to a joint account. Then what’s left is your personal spending in separate accounts. Joint expenses could be groceries, vacations, mortgage, dinners out together and daycare. Personal spending could be pedicures, new golf clubs or girls’ night out. That way, you don’t ever have to fight about whether you needed that new dress.
Money can be a touchy subject; however, communication about money is important. After all, money is the number one cause of disagreement in a relationship. In fact, most pre-marriage counseling treats money management as a topic equal to children and religion.
If you can’t find a way to make money matters work, get help. A professional debt counselor can help you create a budget and start your financial planning.
Everyone is different and manages their money differently, but the important thing is communication. Finding a married financial management system that works for you as soon as possible will help you avoid money stress in your future.
Congratulations and good luck!