“For better or for worse… For richer or for poorer.” This is what most of us promise to our spouse when we pledge ourselves in marriage. But unfortunately, many couples today can’t seem to survive either richer or poorer due to poor money management skills.
Some couples stick with their own individual way of managing money, which may or may not mesh with their spouse’s. Others may take the responsibility all on their own shoulders or shove it onto their spouse instead. Some spouses even lie, cheat, and overspend, and cause all trust within the relationship to be a distant memory. As a newly married couple, how can you prevent these tragedies from happening in your own marriage?
There is definitely hope, but you need to act early. In fact, money management can actually be a rewarding way to bond with your loved one. Here are steps to take and tips to make sure you get on the right track for a lifetime of properly managing your joint finances.
Money Management Steps for Newlyweds
Managing your own money can be challenging enough. But incorporating your spouse’s finances can be overwhelming. In other words, don’t expect to be an expert right away. The two of you have some things to work out and should take plenty of time to do so. Follow these nine steps one step at a time so you and your spouse can easily get accustomed to healthy financial habits.
1. Start Talking About Finances
It’s best to do this before you get married, but if you have not, discuss finances with your new spouse as soon as possible. You’ll need to go over what accounts you have and how much debt you carry. You’ll also want to be clear on how you expect money to be handled.
For example, let your spouse know if you expect him or her to discuss purchases over $100 with you first. Make sure each person has a good understanding of where you stand financially as a couple and the expectations that the other holds.
2. Write Down Goals
After you have determined your baseline financial status, discuss your long-term financial goals in-depth. For example, do you plan to retire at a certain age? Do you want to get out of debt and become a millionaire? If you’re planning on hiring a financial advisor, these are the kinds of things they’ll want to know.
My husband and I agreed on goals that included sticking to a budget each month and becoming a one-income family, so that I could be a stay-at-home mom. Make sure to write all of your goals down and review them periodically. You’ll have a much better chance at success if you do.
Pro tip: If you need help finding a financial advisor, SmartAsset has a tool that will match you with three potential advisors based on a series of questions. You can then choose the advisor who will be the best fit for you.