Chris and I were married at very young ages. I was only 21 and Chris 23. Although, young we had planned our entire wedding that caused much stress but it is what we wanted. Once married, we discussed our finances though it wasn’t much different than before we were married. I knew I did not want financial troubles early in my adult life so we started to discuss our post-marriage financial decisions such as joint bank accounts, joint credit cards, life insurance, planning our retirement and the big one…preparing our home budget.
Since we both had decent paying full-time careers, getting a plan of action in place didn’t seem at all difficult, but with bills, mortgage, a new baby on the way and debt creeping up on us, arguments ensued. This is what I did not want. Once married, I highly recommend the following money management tips so finances don’t get you and your spouse arguing on a daily basis.
- Talk About Your Finances. This seems obvious, but can be difficult. Sit down together to talk about your money, how much you have, where it is going along with what can be spent on luxuries. Make sure both know who is going to pay the bills monthly. Communicating will help stay ahead of financial struggles, where both know exactly where the money is going.
- Start an Emergency Fund. Problems will arise; the hot water tank needs replaced, car maintenance, medical bills and other concerns. Start small with what you can afford. Experts say you should have at least six months worth of living expenses set aside in the event of the unexpected. Open a savings account now and get the emergency fund started.
- Set Goals. Marriage has all sorts of ups-and-downs, so be sure to set goals. This could be the cruise you both want to take, visiting a location you both have dreamed of going to, clearing out any debt you had before marriage, to saving for retirement. Check out these tips for planning your retirement so you and your spouse can be financially prepared when retirement day is here. If you both discuss your goals, you can achieve them together. Make sure to set realistic goals, that you can one day achieve.
- Set a Date Night. My husband and I were young, so never had much money to set aside for date night together. Be sure to plan a date night at least monthly though nothing extravagant that is going to make you broke. This could be a picnic at the park, a stroll on the beach, dinner and a movie, checking out a sporting event, vising a local attraction to cuddling on the couch. Marriage can be stressful especially with all the bills, so taking time out together gives you one-on-one time that is fun.
- Budgeting. Budgeting will help you see exactly where the money is going and what is left after all that. Take control of your expenses, so you can have date night with your spouse, have money to save for vacations, new furniture or a down payment on your new home together. Genworth has a fabulous budget calculator that allows you to calculate everything from your essential expenses such as housing, utilities and insurance, to your known expenses to luxuries. Filling out the form will help you and your spouse take control of your spending to save for your future!
Marriage doesn’t have to be tense, however finances are a big trouble maker that many disagree about. If you are both in this marriage together, than you should both take steps about finances together. Have a positive look on money, understand one another and make sure you both understand short and long term financial goals.
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