“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?
Here are 5 steps to take and tips to make sure you get on the right track for a lifetime of properly managing your joint finances.
1. Create Separate Accounts And One Joint Account
To mingle or not to mingle your money is one of the most important decisions the two of you need to make regarding your finances.
Having your own money that you can spend however you want can lessen arguments about money. We disagree with the belief that having separate joint accounts lessens the sense of unity in marriage and shows a lack of trust in one another.
2. Track How You Are Spending Money
It’s called a budget. Tracking your spending is not a way to point fingers at one another as to who is spending what. Tracking your spending is not having someone looking over your shoulder every time you buy something.
Tracking your spending is critical to being financially secure. Unless you know where your money is going, it is impossible to set financial goals you are both comfortable with.
3. Discuss Finances Together
Sure, talking about money isn’t easy because money can symbolize different things to each partner. One may view money as security and the other as power.
If the topic of debt, bills, savings, and goals makes one or both of you uncomfortable or defensive, then talk about it. It is important that both of you know where you stand financially and have common financial goals.
4. Save 10% Of Your Income
Couples living month-to-month often rationalize that they just don’t have enough money to save. Make the decision to save at least 10% of your income. After saving enough cash as an emergency fund, invest in a retirement account.
The earlier the two of you start saving money for your retirement years, the easier it will be have a retirement lifestyle that you both hope for.
5. Handle Debt As A Couple:
Make a plan to pay off existing debt. Drawing a line in the sand and saying that your spouse’s debt isn’t your problem is not going to work because even if the debt existed before you married, it has now become a burden for you both.
Start your marriage out right by eradicating debt and not racking it up again. Work out a plan with your spouse on how to get out and stay out of debt.
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