“For better or worse, for richer or poorer”
The sad reality is that many marriages do not survive the for “poorer” especially if there is a significant difference between the spending habits of the individuals within the marriage and when there is irreconcilable differences amongst this important aspect of a marriage. That is why, as a future newlywed, I would like to share tips for individuals who are now becoming a team in marriage.
Justin had a great post of 10 Financial Tips for Newlyweds, here are a few more just in case you were wanting some more unsolicited advice for your new marriage.
First, Figure Out How You'll Unite Your Money
Of course, by this point (e.g. marriage) hopefully you will have had the money talk before the marriage talk. Discussing how to split finances with your partner (or if at all, some couples prefer to join everything 100 percent) is also very important. People in marriages that I have talked to have done varying degrees of separation and union in terms of their money. I know a couple (who are now divorced but for a reason unrelated to money, but did last almost 20 years in marriage) who split expenses- for example, one would cover the mortgage, the other would pay for the groceries and credit card bills. I know other couples who have a joint account and have separate accounts, and other couples who completely meld everything together. And as Justin pointed out as well, what works for one couple might not work for another, which is why it's important to sit down with your newlywed partner to figure out how you will unite your money.
Have Regular Money Check Ups
It is so important to have regular dialogue and discussion with your marriage partner. Just like running a business, you can't just not talk to your employees or your management team. Having regular money check ups if you don't like talking about money (my fiancee and I don't have that problem haha sometimes that's all he talks about a lot of the time) is important to keep the dialogue open and to keep the marriage running well. Then afterwards, treat yourselves to a date night to reward the effort. The worst feeling is when you don't feel connected to your spouse and you can't feel like you can talk to them.
For some, equality in relationships and finances might not work, for others it works well. One person in the marriage might be more financially adept (my fiancee is more financially adept in terms of investing, but I think I am a tad bit more frugal than he is) and they would take the lion's share of managing the money, including paying the bills, investing the money, and managing the bank accounts. This can work well for some relationships (I knew someone who made the majority of the money but she gave her husband control of the bank accounts and he gave her $200 spending money every week), but if there was something serious that happened like death or disability or serious illness, the spouse that did not get involved will be severely affected.
That's why I think for newlyweds, it would be a good idea to make sure each spouse has working function and ability for all the finances, even if one is more interested than the other.
Figure Out Your Goals
Finally, now that you are a newlywed couple, you'll want to lay out some of your goals. I know, my goal was just to get married (yes! Made it before I hit the mid thirties mark which is nice) so I'm a little lost as to what to do after that. Just kidding. Your goals may include saving enough money to start a family, support one of you going back to school, or early retirement and needing to know how much you both should save. Whatever it may be, you are now joined forces, so it's important to make sure you are working on achieving these goals together.
That's it, these are the main things to work on once you get married (and hopefully beforehand too, if you're not too busy wedding planning and all!).
Readers, do you have any other tips for newlyweds and their money?