You thought there won’t be a post on finance management for soon-to-be or already married people? Well, you thought wrong. After all the planning and preparation done for your wedding, the stress of it might have pushed aside the thought of soon-to-be merged finances for you and your partner.
Whether a prenup was signed or not, when you are married you take on some financial responsibilities of your significant other which may not be a walk in the park for some. There may be the talk of having kids which constitutes a whole other responsibility and you have to think of getting a bigger house, funds set aside for their education and upkeep, grocery shopping for more mouths, light bills, phone bills, water bills and you seem to be drowning under the weight of the expenses thrown your way.
Well, two heads they say, are better than one, right? Having a partner (one without a poor credit history or back breaking debts) can help put ease on the amount of bills you have to take on and also give good advice on managing your joint finances (if you want that). In as much as it is good to find someone you love who you want to spend the rest of your life with, dealing with money is a different ball game entirely because research has shown that financial issues are the number one cause of marital strain. Note that there is no one size that fits all when it comes to finding the best way to manage your finances, however, here are some steps you can take to ensure a smoother journey in the financial department (marital style):
- Talk openly about money before you get married (or after if you’ve tied the knot already). Placing all your cards on the table, no i mean literally placing all your credit and debit cards alongside your financial history, asset declaration, goals and aspirations on the table, helps in knowing what you’re getting into.
- Set boundaries and be clear on independence. This is why stating your goals before getting married is key as you should be clear on what your expectations are and how far you’re willing to spend to see them get realized. At this point, it is key that you both agree on having either separate accounts or joint accounts or both. It is advisable however to have your own personal account to avoid unnecessary arguments about money. If you both decide to have a joint account, spending limits and methods of approval should be clearly set to reduce money arguments and give room for trust.
- Ensure equal financial understanding. It is not advisable for only one partner to have extensive knowledge on what is going on with your finances. Even though as a person you personally hate anything that has to do with financial planning and run from it, it is good that you know where you both stand financially and make financial decisions together. Whatever decision made financially should involve both partners and both should agree before embarking on a venture, buying an item or making an investment.
- Communicate regularly on finances. Talking about money is always a slippery slope but that cannot be avoided. You have to decide on the amount you both save regularly, the investments you decide to make, your retirement plan, debts to be paid off, financial goals and how to pay off certain bills. If you are not comfortable with talking about finances with your partner, you need to seek the help of a professional to help you both through it. Also, it is important you keep track of your finances and ensure it is on track with your goals and expectations.
- Handle financial tough time together. There will be tough times either caused by the economy, a bad investment, loss of job of one person and other uncontrollable circumstances; it is not time to point fingers and bring your partner down but at this point you both have to find the best way to handle such financial issues as a couple. Your previous planning and preparation will help tremendously at this point in time so be prepared for the bad times as well as the good times and walk each other through it.
Well, what else is left to say?
Mazel Tov and Happy Planning!