It may sound unromantic, but finances have a major role to play in how successful your marriage will be.
According to several studies, Money is the no.1 reason why couples fight, and financial arguments are the leading cause of divorces. So, it is important to trust your partner with your finances, so that you can feel more secure and argue less.
However, trust is something that builds up over time and isn’t common among newlyweds. You probably know a lot about your spouse by your wedding day. But the chances are that you may not know much about his or her finances. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind for a financially secure married life.
1. Agree on A Budget
As a married couple, you should be budgeting all your expenses.
This includes everything from your groceries to your retirement fund. It may not make sense to split all your bills down the middle since one of you will be earning more than the other.
Have a discussion and decide who will be paying for what. Keep in mind that both of you should try to put away a significant amount towards your retirement fund and avail of any matching benefits offered by your employer.
2. Have Individual Accounts and a Joint Account
One of the most important decisions the two of you will need to make when it comes to money is whether to combine your finances or not.
Arguments can be lessened when you have your own money and can spend it as you please, provided you’re putting away a certain amount every month into the joint account.
3. Update Your Legal Documents
This is a smart and simple thing to do as soon as you get married.
If you intend on having your spouse as your beneficiary, be sure to make sure this is reflected in your will and other financial documents such as retirement accounts and insurance policies.
Also, make sure you review these documents periodically to check if revisions are required.
4. Stay on Top of Your Taxes
You may owe more tax than you did before as a married couple if the two of you have similar earnings.
If your pay is very different, the opposite may be the case. You can estimate this using various tools available online.
Make sure that you update your W-2 withholding forms with your employers accordingly.
5. Tackle Debt as A Team
When you get married, how much your spouse or you owe will affect your life choices and budget.
While your spouse’s debt does not automatically become yours, it could lead to a low credit rating and make it harder for you to buy a home. So, reducing your debt should be at the top of your list of priorities.
Focus on the smallest amount and settle it first. This way you’ll gain some motivation to tackle larger debts.
6. Accumulate an Emergency Fund
Set aside some money as an emergency fund in case you must deal with unexpected events, such as a job loss, natural disaster, urgent home repair or sudden illness.
Try to save about six months of your monthly salary to use in case you have no income coming in. This will help protect your relationships and bring financial security in case disaster strikes.
7. Discuss Finances Regularly
Money can mean different things to different people and talking about it isn’t always easy.
To some money may mean power, while for others it symbolizes security.
You could also seek the help of a financial advisor if the topic of bills, debt, savings, and goals makes you uncomfortable.
8. Be Honest
When it comes to managing your money in a marriage, it is important, to be honest.
Own up to any financial mistakes and let your spouse know if you make any unnecessary big purchases instead of hiding it from them.
While he or she may be upset initially, they will eventually appreciate your openness and honesty. If you want your marriage to last, avoid lying about money as it could have enormous repercussions.
9. Trust Your Spouse
You should be able to trust your spouse to handle money and share the financial responsibilities with them.
Unless he or she is lying to you, do not track every move they make or dollar they spend. This is condescending and will only lead to issues in your marriage.
A great way to practice trust is by combining bank accounts.
10. Save for Retirement
Saving for retirement is a good idea whether you’re married or not.
You need to make sure you are financially secure in the future. It is prudent to start saving for retirement right away. If your company offers a 401k plan, take maximum advantage of this by putting in as much money as you can afford.
If you cannot do this, even putting aside a small amount of money every month will help you in the long run.
It may not be the easiest task to talk to your spouse about money. But this is non-negotiable if you want your union to stay strong.
Financial issues are one of the top reasons for divorce right after infidelity and communication issues. The tips mentioned above will put you on the right track and help you get started with planning a secure future together.
Make the right financial decisions, so that money woes don’t get in the way of a happy marriage.
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