Sharing your life with another person is one of the most terrifying and fulfilling steps that you can take. Getting married and conjoining your life takes a tremendous amount of compassion, and is something that is made with an inevitable sacrifice of part of your ego. While you are still an individual, while married, your identity is now combined with that of your spouse. When people get married, one of the most difficult aspects that people tend not to think about is how they are going to manage finances, now that you both share in the fruits of each other’s labor. Here are some tips on how you can manage finances with your spouse…
Don’t shy from talking about money
The biggest mistake that a couple of newlyweds could make, regarding finances, is to simply avoid talking about money and hope that everything just works out. Money never works that way, and you should never expect it to. Relationships, whether marriage, friendship, or family, are all about communication. This isn’t any less true when the subject is about money. Make sure to regularly have discussions about your budget and your financial goals, so that you can both make sure that your goals haven’t changed and that you are still living within your means. The journey of marriage is a lot easier when you are both working together, and conversation is the first step to accomplishing that.
Make sure both of you are considered in the retirement plan
Now that you are married, you don’t just have your own retirement to think about, one day. You also have to think about the other person that you are hopefully going to be spending that retirement with. When you are having your regular discussions about finances, make sure that you have some very real discussions about when you both want to retire, and how you plan to get there. It’s important to make sure that you are both on the same page in this regard. If only one party in a marriage prepares for their retirement, then their retirement will either need to cover both parties, or the other person will need to work much longer than their spouse, which is definitely less than ideal.
Make a realistic budget for both of you
The most important thing to know about managing money is that it will inherently just leave you, if you let it. You need to tell money what to do if you want it to stay with you and do what it should be doing. Avoiding this step of taking control of your finances means you will constantly be spending your money on things that you don’t even realize. For this reason, it’s important that both of you work together to create a budget that is going to work for both of you.
One mistake that couples make when budgeting is that they expect both people to live like monks, and create unrealistic spending expectations. Instead, make sure that you budget in the money you are probably going to waste, because it will probably go to spending time with each other. If you are aware of the money you are going to waste, then you won’t be surprised and caught off guard when you do spend it, and you will always have enough for your bills and expenses.
Avoid needless spending
The key to having more money depends on two things: making more of it and spending less of it (if you don’t mind the gross oversimplification). Of these, it’s actually more important to wisely spend what you have than to always be wondering how to make more. Needless spending is going to eat away that the financial security blanket of your marriage, and is going to add needless stress that is impacting your relationship. For this reason, make sure that you are both living within your means, and be sure to take care of the things that you have. If you are both valuing what you own, then it will last longer and you will feel more attached to it. For example, if you have granite countertops, you’ll need to re-seal it regularly and take care how you clean and maintain it. This applies for every big investment, such as cars, properties, and appliances.
Thanks Alek for taking time to share some great financial management tips. I know since I’ve started paying attention to our budget and using saving apps for groceries, I realize there is light at the end of the tunnel.