Money is one of the biggest causes of marital feuds and, in the case of some couples, have been known to end in divorce. So here are a couple of tips to get you well on your way to a happy and financially stable marriage – “for richer or poorer”.
- #1. Don’t wait until after the wedding to start discussing budgets and finances for your marriage – agreeing on money matters is a major factor that should be agreed upon long before you get to the big day.
- #2. Agree on your financial goals – from short term goals like “we will stick to a monthly budget” to long term dreams like “we need to kick this debt” or “we need to save for a house”.
- #3. Start building an emergency fund – reserved for major unexpected expenses like family illness, a lost job or home repairs. This should be one of your first and main priorities, and the ideal is to have about 6 months’ expenses saved up in case you’re ever in the position where you don’t have an income.
- #4. Decide how you’re going to work the different bank accounts. Will you have multiple joint accounts or a joint account plus individual acounts? Weigh up the pros and cons of all the options until you both come to a mutual decision.
- #5. Have regular “marital money meetings” – an excellent way to ensure that you’re both on track, evaluate where you need to cut back and keep abreast of your goals. Note however that these meetings are not about studying the other person’s purchases or pointing fingers – it should be an open and equal discussion.
- #6. Don’t keep secrets. Honesty is the best policy, so be open about your spending habits and be upfront about your wants and needs. After all – if you don’t want to tell your spouse about a purchase, it’s usually a purchase that you shouldn’t be making in the first place.
- #7. Learn to trust one another completely and, in the same breath, make a point of earning your spouse’s trust with regards to finances and the like.
- #8. Be a team! The moment money becomes a “me versus you” issue or a case of “what can I get out of this”, the real problems start. The key is to treat all money as JOINT money – don’t let your marriage turn into a “my money, your money” battle of wills.
- #9. Make it a priority to get out of debt as soon as you can, and from thereon out – try to avoid getting into debt altogether, unless of course you’re buying a house.
- #10. Keep family and friends out of your affairs. Make a point of never discussing your personal and financial issues outside of the marriage.
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