Marriage & Money: What To Talk About Before You Send the Wedding Invitations
Why you should talk about personal finances as a couple long before the wedding invitations go out. Image from financialtipoftheday.com
Wedding invitations, bridesmaid dresses, serving chicken or salmon (or both)…so many decisions are being made in the months leading up to your wedding, and yet many couples leave one of the most important discussions for weeks or months after their wedding. That is the discussion of how to handle their personal finances as a married couple.
Men and Women Are Different
It’s no surprise that men and women are different in many things, and money is definitely one of them. Because you’re forming a life-long partnership, sharing your feelings around money and its management is vital to the ongoing success of your relationship. That means being up front about financial tasks you’re comfortable with, and tasks that fall outside your comfort zone.
5 Key Ingredients For a (Financially) Stable Marriage
Financial author Dave Ramsey offers some specific steps on preparing financially for marriage.† Here are 5 discussion points that will help the two of you sort through and prioritize your feelings around money, its management, and your long-term financial goals as a couple and eventually a family.
1. Transparency - Both of you should be up front about your current situation and put everything on the table:
- debt (large and small)
- student loans
- credit card issues
- credit scores
It’s great to share what your parents and others have taught you about finances, and discuss the similarities and differences you have with your partner. Getting on the same page philosophically lays a foundation of trust.
2. Merging - In his article, Dave Ramsey points out “When you get married, combining your money into joint accounts is a crucial step. You are becoming one…Working together from a shared account brings honesty, unity and a sense that ‘we’re in this together!’”
3. Budgeting - Next it’s time to take all this information and put it on paper to help you determine what a typical month will look like. Review the budget every month to see what’s working, what isn’t, and to make adjustments.
Try out our helpful budget calculator. It will help you nail down your month-to-month expenses as a new couple. Image from iMoney.my
4) Planning - Once you have all of the details in your budget written down, it’s time to make a plan. Your plan should consist of creating an emergency fund, paying off debt, setting aside 3–6 months of expenses in savings (an expansion of your emergency fund), retirement investment, home repayment, and building a plan for giving back. These are steps you plan for, but accomplish one-by-one. Start off with planning on saving $1,000 for your emergency fund, and move through each step until you reach your plan for giving back. You can read more about these steps here.
5) Relating - This is listed last, but this should be a constant in all your conversations about finances—it refers to relating to each other. This article might focus on talking about money, but your relationship is what always comes first. Don’t let your talks about money stress you out—it’s about your loved one and your relationship. Your marriage is first, money is second.
Did you know…there’s an account for that!
We help new couples like you find the right solution—from auto and home refinance to checking and savings accounts—to help you achieve your financial goals and strategies. Contact us at 603-645-8181 to speak with us about budgeting, planning and other steps to get you started on the best path to a solid financial future.
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