As we’ve been told time and again, money is one of the biggest stressors we face as individuals. Combine this with the pressure of marriage, and we’re looking at one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States. It makes sense—two individuals who have previously led separate financial lives attempting to combine or otherwise manage their money in a cohesive way.
For many young people, this presents a significant problem. Fortunately though, sound financial planning and a willingness to communicate can help alleviate your money woes. First, be open about your finances. Whether or not you choose to combine bank accounts hardly means that your money situation isn’t worth talking about. Be open about debts you have (both good and bad). Discuss financial goals you both may have, money matters you find most challenging, and credit histories. This way, there are no surprises when you attempt to purchase a car, vacation, or real estate property.
Next, consider meeting with a financial planner to discuss your money situation, be it good or bad. This person will provide a qualified, objective opinion of your situation and serve as a moderator for your finance discussion. It will also give you a forum in which to discuss things you may want to save for (or, as Jason Hartman recommends—invest in), and ways to do it.
Lastly, make sure you begin on a sound financial base by planning a wedding that you can afford. By beginning your marriage in debt, you risk early disagreements, an extensive wait time before any big purchases can be made, and a lifestyle of paycheck-to-paycheck living. Instead, make a budget and stick to it. Find areas where you can cut things that aren’t important out, even if it breaks tradition. If you and your partner don’t like flowers—get rid of them, and save yourself some cash.
You might invite only close friends and family, shop at discount stores, design your own centerpieces, or honeymoon at a nearby location. Ask family and friends to help you out where they can (cousin Sue may be an excellent photographer, Uncle Joe a quality baker) and save your money for when it matters.
Like most things, communication is key in all matters financial. Establish a plan, stick to your goals, and openly discuss any problems you foresee. This way, you and your partner will begin life together with a solid financial plan and a positive outlook! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/millzero/2408535634/)
The Young Wealth Team