Financial Health After Getting Married
Marriage is a commitment to each other and a promise to share your lives together–this includes not just your love and devotion but also everything that you will build together in the future, including your financial goals. “…For richer or for poorer”, as the vow goes. Unfortunately, a lot of unprepared couples all too often end up on the poorer side of that vow, causing a strain on their relationship and risking their future together.
While financial health may not be the most romantic subject to discuss as a couple, it’s an important one that could very well dictate how you’ll survive together. You will now have to think about everything in a new way: from personal financial goals to spending habits to credit card debt. Navigating these changes won’t be easy but it’s important that you plan together so you can lay down a strong foundation for your life. As you prepare to embark on your married life, here are some tips and advice to consider for building a financially healthy marriage:
1. Set yourselves up for success rather than debt.
A common trap that couples fall into is getting themselves into debt right from the start of their marriage with a wedding or honeymoon that is way above their means. A couple, especially a young one, won’t often have enough money to pay for a lavish, one-day celebration.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to forego celebrating, of course, especially if you’ve been dreaming of your wedding day for a long time. The advice here is that if the kind of wedding you’re planning is going to set you back financially and you’ll end up having to pay for your wedding for years to come, you may want to consider limiting your budget to a more manageable amount or find ways to make the wedding more affordable.
2. Get to know each other’s financial management styles
This may have already come up in some ways while you were dating or engaged, but differences in money management styles will come up even more when you start sharing one roof.
Is one partner a spender and the other a hoarder? Is one partner conscientious about saving and does the other have a come-what-may attitude? How does your future spouse think about money? Do they know how to follow a budget? Do they set aside money for their savings or live from paycheck to paycheck? Will you create a joint account or have individual accounts?
All these are important considerations you need to know and understand about your future partner. You should also take time to talk about how you’re going to share financial responsibilities. Sometimes, the burden of looking after a couple’s financial health is dumped on one partner while the other avoids the responsibility. This might work for others but you need to communicate and mutually agree on this arrangement beforehand. After all, it’s a future that you will share together. Make sure you’re both on the same page.