3 Ways to Handle your Finances when you get Married
Managing money post-marriage is a lot different than figuring out how to spend and save your money pre-marriage. Before you got married, your money was yours to spend and save as you saw fit. But now that you’ve tied the knot, you have a lot to figure out. If done right, sharing financial responsibilities as a couple could be the best thing ever. Otherwise, your marriage will face harsh realities of how money erodes a relationship. To save from the pitfalls of money management, we’re offering relationship tips on three ways to handle your finances when you get married.
1. Examine the basics
If you want to get your finances on track as a married couple, you need to start from square one – Create a budget! Start your budgeting by figuring out how much money you are bringing in collectively and match that up against the bills and payments going out each month.
If you spend more than you make, you need to start adjusting your budget, even if it means cutting out on certain luxurious like streaming services or eating out. Another essential tip for getting started with the basics is figuring out how you will share or split your finances. Hopefully, you had talked about this before you said, “I do,” but if not, there’s always time.
Talk to your partner about:
- Decide if you will have a joint bank account or keep your money separate? There are benefits to both!
- If you are keeping your finances separate, how will you determine who will pay what bill?
- Will you check in with your spouse before purchasing $100(or any other appropriate amount)?
- Do you plan on starting a family? If so, how will you feel about having one partner potentially working from home or quitting their job to be a full-time parent?
2. Know what it means to be a team
When you get married, you become partners. The love and respect you share inspire you to function as a unit and make decisions together. To make your team of two a success, you have to learn the basics:
Learn about each other’s financial history
Share how you were brought up to view money, were you in a low-income household, or did you have plenty to go around? What financial lessons have you learned throughout your life? Finding the answers to these questions will help you understand your partner and make it easier to act as a team.
Bring things up gently
Money is a tricky topic. The study “For Richer, for Poorer: Money as a Topic of Marital Conflict in the Home” revealed that arguments about money were more salient and recurring for couples than any other topic.
Since the subject of money is an area of conflict for romantic partners, couples must be gentle and not accusatory when bringing up these sensitive topics.
There is nothing more terrifying than giving your money (or part of it) to someone that you don’t trust. Getting married, you are trusting your partner with a lot of financial responsibilities. You will rely on them to do their part in paying the bills; you trust that they will earn an income to help run the household, and you trust that they are not going to overspend and throw your whole budget off track.
The best way to build trust as financial and romantic partners is, to be honest with one another – even if that means admitting some embarrassing things like going bankrupt or bringing a measure of debt into the marriage.
Your partner can’t help you fix a problem if they don’t know it exists, so open up and be honest with each other.
3. Financial communication in marriage
They say communication is the backbone of any good marriage, and financial communication is no different! A great way you can open up the lines of communication about your finances is to have a monthly check-in.
Each month have a time, where you sit down together, set aside all other distractions, and have a healthy chat about your finances.
Many couples feel stressed out or anxious when talking about money and find it helpful to set a time limit on their monthly check-in. Thirty minutes should be enough time to talk before going back to your regularly scheduled routine.
During your monthly check-in, discuss such things as:
how well did you do this month in staying on budget? If you did well, how can you use the money that is left over? If you didn’t hit your marks, how can you adjust to make next month a success?
Talk about your goals
do you want to pay off some debts? Buy a house? Saving for retirement? Plan a vacation? Bring up such topics with your spouse and see if you’re on the same page.
Assess your skills
Don’t treat your finances like a game to be won. Remember, you are partners, not rivals! It doesn’t matter who makes more or who does what, so long as your bills are paid on time.
Make your shared financial journey easier by focusing on each other’s strengths. Don’t be afraid to delegate certain responsibilities to one partner. If they are better at budgeting, making charts, and are more financially responsible – celebrate it! Make your finances a priority in order to have a successful marriage.
Talking about your finances as a newly married couple may seem awkward at first, but after some practice and by having monthly financial check-ins, you and your partner will be able to balance your budget like pros.
Author Bio: Rachael is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourage couples to overcome their challenges together.