Wedding season is upon us and that means couples all around the country are saying “I do” and starting their happily ever after. As your lives merge from two into one you’ll need to decide where to live, how to raise your children and most importantly how to manage your money as a newlywed couple.
Money is the backbone of any good relationship. Why? Because everything we do in life from how we live, what we eat and where we travel revolves around money. Not all couples are wealthy, the majority probably aren’t. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to manage your money together.
If you’re a newlywed, here are some tips on how to manage your money:
Do it together
Some couples choose to keep their money separate in individual accounts and each contribute towards the monthly household expenses.
That can work for some couples, but as a financial planner and one half of a long time couple I feel that doing things together makes a stronger couple. If there are conflicts you can work through them together and your money as well as your marriage may be better because of it.
Be open about differences
The worst thing you can do for your couple’s money is try to push your habits onto someone else, that only works for children. Adults have already grown into the person they are going to be and trying to change them can only put a wedge between the two of you.
Be open about your differences and be willing to lend a helping hand, but let your spouse figure out how to change their habits on their own. That could mean talking to a professional at your local bank about investing, getting advice from a credit counsellor on how to pay off debt or signing up for a budgeting tool to track your spending.
Talk openly about your goals
If you want to work towards a goal such as buying a new car or new furniture for your home talk about it so you can save together. Sometimes conflict arises when one spouse carries the financial burden on their shoulders.
If you are open about your expectations there will be no surprises when it comes to spending money. It’s also always better to over communicate, sometimes to the point of annoyance. That’s how I prefer it.
Make big decisions as a couple
Whether it’s buying new appliances or applying for a new credit card talk about your goals with your spouse and make big decisions as a couple. This is why it’s important to be open about your saving and spending habits as well as your short term and long term goals.
The last thing you want is to make a big decision that affects you both financially and your spouse isn’t on the same page. That can lead to misunderstandings, conflict and resentment. After you say “I do” just remember that there is no more “I” in your newlywed couple.