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Planning for finances after the wedding

A Couple’s Guide to Marriage and Finance in 2022

May 11, 2022

For couples deciding on tying the knot, it is exciting to begin a new chapter of their lives as spouses. It’s so exciting that some people get caught up with the wedding and the honeymoon, then forget other things that they now have to deal with together as a couple, like finances. No, not just figuring out how to budget for a week-long trip to Hawaii or who pitches in for the wedding cake, but things like debt and mortgages.

The Couple’s “Money Talk” Guide

Having the money talk with your partner can be a very vulnerable position to be in. Debts and financial goals aren’t the most exciting things to discuss, but being able to talk about your finances will help you understand each other and figure out how to best move forward with your matrimonial life and ultimately improve your financial health (as a couple).

Marriage and Joint Financial Planning

Sitting down together as a couple and getting intimate about your finances is an important step in a long-term commitment. Just like how being on the same page about having, or not having, children helps clear the air of any frustrations about how your future together would look like, getting on the same page about your personal and joint finances will help you both figure out how to best deal with money to maintain financial stability in the marriage.

 According to many divorce lawyers, one of the common reasons marriages fall apart is due to finances. Many couples who haven’t discussed their respective financial habits, their core financial values, or their financial plans end up in more arguments that ultimately lead to a divorce.

Dealing with finances can be stressful enough as an individual, and now that you’re together “for richer or for poorer,” well, you would want to be the former and not the latter. Being honest about your finances going into the marriage can help save both parties from frustrations, disappointments, and conflict down the line.

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1. Set a Time and Place

Get serious about your money talks and schedule them like you would a formal meeting. You don’t have to have just one money talk where you plop everything all at once, you can space it out over a week or a month. What’s important is that you schedule it so you can prepare what you will be discussing as well as be in the proper mindset.

2. Leave Judgment Out the Door

Not everyone is comfortable about talking about money and some may even feel deep shame when talking about debt. But as each other’s partners, it is in both of your best interests to create a safe space when you have your money conversations.

3. Be Transparent

Again, as vulnerable as it may feel to expose the good and the bad about your finances, it is best to be completely honest about all of it so you two know what you’re getting into moving forward with your lives together.

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4. Share Your History with Money

You and your partner should start your money conversation with your individual history with money. Each of you can take 30 minutes to explain how you learned about handling money growing up, how you feel about money, and how you’re handling money now. Take this time to also talk about your values and beliefs around money.

 After the two of you have shared, discuss what you like about each other’s approaches to money. Emphasize on the positives. Don’t dwell on how much debt they have or why they took on a specific loan. During this time, you’re establishing common ground on how you’re going to handle money together as a couple, wealth psychology expert Kathleen Burns Kingsbury explained.

5. List Your Assets and Liabilities

This is the part where you get more in-depth with the actual numbers. Be open about the assets and the liabilities you’re both bringing into the marriage. Take stock of your respective investments, properties, and savings, also take into account any student loans, credit card bills, mortgages, or other debts that still need to be addressed.

Being informed of each other’s assets and liabilities can help you two paint a better picture of how your finances may look in the immediate future. Debts may seem like something you should be ashamed of, but openly discussing them can help couples find ways to pay it off faster, together or separately, that does not harm your budget.

6. Establishing Financial Goals and Priorities

Is it to pay off loans? Save up to buy a house? Start a family? Your future child’s college tuition? A cushiony retirement fund?

 By figuring out your short-term and long-term goals and priorities, you now have a clearer understanding of your financial future and you can now proceed to strategize how to achieve those goals.

7. The Money Game Plan

Ask each other about ways you could both achieve your financial goals. If you’re starting a family, ask questions like: How many can you afford to have? What is the spending plan? Who will handle the family finances? How will the joint bank account be utilized?

Consider consulting a financial advisor to easily help you two get on the right path. Financial planners are not just for the extremely wealthy with an excess of disposable income, us everyday folk can greatly benefit from their services too.

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Keeping the Financial Communication Line Open

Don’t just stop at the planning stage. Regularly schedule formal check-ins with each other to see if you are on the right track and if things need any adjusting, considering how life throws a lot of curveballs. Take the time to acknowledge each other’s contributions and discuss how you can improve moving forward.

While finances isn’t the most romantic topic that kindles the flames, it does help keep the marriage financially stable. By keeping the line of communication open, any conflicts can be resolved swiftly and help strengthen the relationship that will hopefully stand the test of time.

 

Main Photo: Mathieu Stern on Unsplash