Wedding Shoppe, Inc. offers tips on managing money and marriage without losing your wits!
Managing money once you're married!When considering compatibility in relationships, few people factor financial compatibility into the equation—and yet money is one of the issues couples argue about most. Before saying your “I dos,” it’s just as important to discuss each other’s financial viewpoints and thoughts on managing money as it is to inquire about religion, worldview and values. In fact, the way you spend your money says a lot about your values and views. Stumped about managing money and marriage? Read about sharing finances, creating a budget, and reaching your financial goals today from Wedding Shoppe, Inc.
Before the Wedding…
- Communicate. Across the board, financial experts agree that, when it comes to sharing finances, communication is key. Talking about money early and often with your fiancé will eliminate any surprises later on down the road, and will help you get to know each other’s spending habits. Ask questions like: Are you a spender or a saver? What are your short-term financial goals? What are your long-term financial goals? By sitting down and talking about the ways in which you are different, you’ll be able to figure out the ways in which you are—woohoo!—the same.
- Don't keep secrets. Along with communication comes full disclosure. Talk about how you still have $30,000 in school loans or how you went crazy at the mall and now have a terrifying-looking balance on your credit card. Any debt you accrue prior to your marriage stays with you, and while it won’t be in your future spouse’s name, sharing finances with them will mean they will still end up helping you pay it off. It’s only fair to let them know what they’re in for.
After the Wedding…
- Keep communicating. As you may have guessed, this is imperative to maintaining financial harmony in your relationship. By now, you should have discussed whether or not you will have a joint bank account or separate accounts, or a combination of the two. If you’ve opted for shared finances with a joint bank account, there's a great checklist here to walk you through the transition, including exactly what steps to take with your bank, credit card companies, utility companies and insurance companies.
- Create a realistic budget…and stick to it. This step is equally as important as the communication step when it comes to sharing finances. There are numerous resources available to help you set up your budget, such as these free budget worksheets available for download. Financial newsletter Kiplinger has an online budget calculator you can fill out if the hard-copy route isn’t your style. And you can always invest in a software program, such as Quicken, to give you more in-depth help with your shared finances.
- Set financial goals. If you both want to do the same things with your money, you will find it significantly easier to not only stay on track but also to achieve those goals faster. Talk about both short- and long-term financial goals. Short-term goals might include saving a certain amount of money per month in your joint bank account or building up your savings account to a desired amount by the end of the year. Long-term goals might include saving up enough money for a down payment on a house in the next three years or building up your 401(k) to XXXX dollars. And don’t forget to be flexible: re-evaluate your goals every few months, creating new ones as you achieve old ones.
- Follow the rules. Set up very specific rules about your spending. For example, you’re both allowed to have a certain amount of mad money every month, to spend as you choose—but once it’s gone, it’s gone. Or agree on a spending limit neither of you can exceed without consulting each other. If you set guidelines for how to handle a scenario before it comes up, chances are you’ll be avoiding a potential conflict later on.