The financial discussions that you have before the wedding could be even more important than the wedding itself! Most couples fight and split due to that little thing called MONEY. If you have not taken the time to fully figure out how you’re going to manage your cash after the big day, then you’re in for some rough times.
Are romantic fairy tales dancing through your head, wedding bells ringing in your ears? While many couples get caught up in the excitement of planning their wedding, some forget to discuss the fundamentals of everyday life. Household chores, child rearing, even who picks up after the dog seems to take a front seat to financial planning. Often arguments over money lead to separation and even divorce. So if you haven’t taken the time to open up the lines of financial communication, make sure to do it soon.
Discussing money is the big scary conversation that most couples avoid and even dread to have with each other. By now you know your fiancé emotionally, even spiritually, but what about financially? Are you fully aware of each other’s spending habits, or debt situation?
We are all expected to be great at managing our money by the time we are adults, although very few of us are taught the proper and most effective ways. A limited understanding of money management often results in feelings of guilt, shame, frustration, and even anger. Some deal with this by leaving it for their partner to take care of, others just go shopping and say they will deal with it later. Avoiding the problem won’t make it go away; it will only get worse. This will eventually snowball out of control and suck you and your partner in.
Here are some quick questions that will get you started on your journey to financial freedom as a couple. Write down your answers separately and discuss them with your partner once you’re both finished.
If you had the money to do anything in the world, what would be first thing you would do?
How do you spend your money each month?
What have you always wanted but can’t afford?
Is there something you should be saving for but aren’t?
Do you like your current love nest or do you want to upgrade?
Have you been putting anything off due to money? (celebrations, trips, gifts, renovations)
Do you know where your partner spends his/her money?
What have you noticed about your partner’s spending that bothers you?
Take the following quiz to see where the two of you stand when it comes to spending.
|Check which applies to…||Definitely Him/Her||Ok that’s me|
|I always look for the least expensive gift.|
|I can’t resist a bargain.|
|I don’t feel capable of handling my money.|
|I don’t know exactly how much I owe on my credit cards.|
|I don’t know how much money I have in the bank.|
|I have a hard time saving.|
|I lose valuable items.|
|I love having lots of money.|
|I love to shop.|
|I miss paying my bills on time.|
|I put off buying because I’m sure I can get it cheaper.|
|I’m afraid I won’t have enough money.|
|I’m always broke.|
|I know my credit rating.|
Now that you’ve gotten a few things out in the open, it’s time to look deeper into both of your financial histories and explore your financial situation. Discuss things such as debt load, net worth, and monthly expenses; after that it’s budget time. A well thought out budget can not only cut down on squabbles but if planned correctly allow for extra indulgences that both of you are okay with. Once you have everything in order and are on the same page, contact a financial advisor. Advisors have access to great savings tips and can help get you started in the right direction.
Make a point to write down and review your spending on a regular basis as a couple. This will help pin point any areas of weakness or improvement for the two of you. Mostly importantly it will keep you on track and aid in avoiding overspending.
By keeping your finances in order you can focus on each other and your new marriage. If you are not comfortable with money management it’s ok to ask for help. Tell your partner how you feel and perhaps seek out a simple cash management course to beef up your knowledge setting you toward marriage bliss.
Jason M. Currey, Senior Financial Consultant
The Healthy Retirement Group Inc.