When you married your new spouse, you promised to love them “for richer or for poorer.” However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take some control over your financial status. Learning how to effectively manage your money and create a consistent budget is a great way to ensure that you don’t get yourself into any financial trouble in the years to come.
Unfortunately, many married couples have some trouble when it comes to broaching the subject of finances with their partner. No-one likes to feel like the person who’s always talking about money in a relationship. However, money management is the only way to make sure that you achieve your financial goals as a team.
So, how can you get started?
Start Talking about Cash Early
If possible, it’s best to start talking about your money before you even get married. If you haven’t discussed your bank accounts and financial goals with your partner yet, then it’s time to get down to it after the honeymoon has passed. You’ll need to go over the accounts that you’re managing, how much debt you have to pay off, and what your savings expectations are.
Ideally, you’ll both be able to come to terms on what you think is essential when it comes to cash. It’s much harder to get on the same page when one of you thinks that money is for having fun, and the other prefers to save for a rainy day.
Choose Your Goals and Write Them Down
After you’ve figured out the basics of your financial status, you can begin to determine long-term goals. What do you want to do with your partner in the years to come? If you’re planning on having a child, then it pays to start saving as soon as possible. If you want to get out of debt, would it be easier to compare your options online or even consolidate your existing loans? Sites like Readies.co.uk offer attractive deals on short term funding.
By deciding on your goals and writing them down, you improve your chances of actually reaching your targets. What’s more, when you and your partner are aligned towards the same goals, you’re less likely to argue about financial decisions.
Decide on Joint or Separate Bank Accounts
A lot of couples assume that they need to open a joint bank account when they’re married, but there’s nothing that says that this has to be the way you do things. Joint bank accounts are easier to maintain when you don’t want to spend forever sorting through bills and expenses. However, most couples prefer to maintain some independence with their cash.
Joint bank accounts may be a good idea if you’re concerned that your spouse has had issues with money in the past. With a joint account, you’ll be able to track how money is being spent and address any problems early.
Create an Emergency Fund
Before you start working towards your financial goals, the first thing you need to do is develop an emergency fund. This should be a top priority for any married couple because you never know when something in your life won’t go according to plan. An emergency fund helps you to prepare for anything from an emergency car repair, to an unexpected vet bill.
Though different people have their own unique goals for emergency funds, you should probably aim to save about 6 months’ worth of income in a “just in case” pile.
Save for Retirement
Regardless of whether you’re married, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the long-term. This means creating a retirement account that you can start saving to as quickly as possible. For instance, if you work for a business that provides 401k plans, you can put in the maximum contribution allowed. If you have a Roth IRA, take advantage of that too.
Even if you can’t max your retirement accounts out, putting as much as you can in each month will keep you in good standing for the future.
Share Financial Responsibilities
Finally, remember that money management in marriage isn’t just about having the occasional quick discussion with each other and then leaving all the work to one side of the couple. Both parties need to work together at making financial decisions, paying bills, and even comparing prices to keep costs low.
The more you can make the financial responsibilities in your life a team effort, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the long term. What’s more, it reduces the chances of one spouse getting angry at the other for his or her lack of contribution.