If you’re newly married or about to be, you have (hopefully) talked about finances. It’s undoubtedly at least crossed your minds, and assuming you’re committed enough to wed, you’ve probably discussed money. You’re now deciding whether or not to share accounts, how to pay of debts, including that of the wedding you’ve recently thrown. It can be a bit overwhelming, certainly—but we’re here for you! Below are a few tips for sorting out that financial mess and beginning your path to marital bliss!
First, and maybe it’s too late for this, talk about it before you make major commitments. During your engagement, you’re figuring out a lot of things about each other. While it might be an awkward subject to bring up, it will make the transition easier. Grab a pen and paper (or tablet or computer), a calculator, and your bank statements. Begin by making a budget.
It is important that you’re honest in this stage—even if it means divulging the credit card debt you acquired after that a nasty breakup or a history of bounced checks. Don’t keep secrets—eventually, (say, when you decide to buy a house) they’ll be revealed. Next, make a plan for dividing (or combining) your accounts. While some couples combine everything, many choose to maintain both individual accounts and a shared account for bills, etc. Find a solution that works best for you and your partner.
Now is also a great time to talk about long term savings plans. While you might expect that everything will go perfectly, there are bound to be some unexpected expenses along the way. If you’ve got something saved up now, you’ll be happier and more financially secure in the long run. Begin be starting an emergency fund and proceed to plan for savings, retirement, and (as Jason Hartman recommends) future investments.
Finally, make a plan to pay down and eliminate debt. While it would be great to begin a marriage debt-free, its unlikely that you’ll be able to get rid of credit cards, student loans, and wedding-related debts. Begin paying things down and make a plan to continue doing so. Begin with the highest balances with the highest interest rates and work your way through.
Remember, money is the number one cause of stress and conflict in most marriages. If you begin establishing financial literacy and security, you ensure a future that is without these difficulties. Do you have any tips or tricks that worked for you? Share below. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/seanmolin/7219535094/)
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The Young Wealth Team