The honeymoon period, generally considered the first year of marriage, is filled with some of life’s most precious moments: Growing closer to your true love, building a home together, and understanding the deeper meaning of companionship.
Given that love/lust fog, it’s easy to avoid the tougher moments of day-to-day life. Finance tends to be a subject area that couples dodge and evade, which can lead to dysfunctional patterns that undermine a marriage. It’s far better to get it out in the open now, even before the I dos.
Here are four tips to help make your marriage a financial success:
1. Ask family and friends to contribute your financial goals. This may sound obnoxious and rude, but in reality, it’s not. Your loved ones often find cash gifts easier and more personal than a blender or toaster. And frankly, given the economy, everyone understands the value of a dollar these days and they want to contribute to your long-term financial success. With mounting debt in planning a wedding and setting up your lives beyond the big day, it’s become increasingly common for couples to ask for money.
On a more practical side, most couples already have the gifts on a traditional registry. No one needs two coffeemakers sitting on the counter.
Creating a presentvalue.com registry, you’re making it even easier for your friends and family to make that green contribution!
2. Keep separate bank accounts and create one joint account. By starting the money conversation with, “let’s open a joint bank account,” you’re laying your financial cards on the trust table. Together, you’ll figure out how it will work as you combine your two lives. For example, along with depositing your cash wedding gifts, you may each contribute a set amount from every paycheck, and use the balance to pay joint housing bills.
It’s also a good idea to have money in separate accounts. This will allow each of you the freedom to spend without the pressure of those funds having an impact on your joint finances.
3. Handle debt as a couple. It is important to have the conversation about debt as far in advance as possible. Even if only one of you has debt, it will very likely impact your bottom line as a couple. If you’re planning to make a major purchase, like a house or a car, your debt will play a significant factor in determining if you can get a mortgage or car loan. Figuring out a plan together will not only help pay off the actual debt, but it will work to keep a healthy relationship as a married couple.
4. Don’t keep any financial secrets. This concept may sound simple but, surprisingly, many couples keep money secrets. The sad reality is that finances can easily become a major stressor in a relationship and is often the cause for divorce. By keeping the money talks open and honest, you’re building a solid foundation from this day forward!