Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Many couples will decide to get married, some for the first time, some for the second, some young and some not so young. One of you is a spender and one is a saver! How will you make it work? What should you be doing money wise? Here are 7 tips on money strategies for your marriage:
1. Create Separate Accounts and One Joint Account
To mingle or not to mingle your money is one of the most important decisions the two of you need to make regarding your finances. Having your own money that you can spend however you want can lessen arguments
2. Track How You Are Spending Money
Tracking your spending is not a way to point fingers at one another as to who is spending what. Tracking your spending is not having someone looking over your shoulder every time you buy something. It is critical to being financially secure. Unless you know where your money is going, it is impossible to set up a budget and set financial goals you are both comfortable with.
3. Discuss Finances Together On A Regular Basis
Talking about money isn’t easy because money can symbolize different things to each partner. One may view money as security and the other as power. If the topic of debt, bills, savings, and goals makes one or both of you uncomfortable or defensive, seek the help of a financial planner. It is important to know where you stand financially and have common financial goals.
4. Save 10% of Your Income
Couples living month-to-month often rationalize they just don’t have enough money to save. Make the decision to save at least 10% of your income. After saving enough cash as an emergency fund, invest in a retirement account. The earlier the two of you start saving money for your retirement years, the easier it will be to have a retirement lifestyle that you both hope for.
5. Handle Debt As A Couple
Make a plan to pay off existing debt. Drawing a line in the sand and saying that your spouse’s debt isn’t your problem isn’t going to work. If the debt existed before you married, your credit rating can be negatively impacted as well as the bottom line of how much money the two of you are paying monthly in interest charges.
6. Decide On A Bill Paying Strategy
Maybe you had a house and your partner also had one. You both paid your own bills. Now that you are living together and your bills are combined, decide as a couple who will pay what and which back account the money is going to come out of. This will absolutely reduce friction in your relationship over time by having clear expectations.
7. Don’t Keep Big Financial Secrets
Not being honest about the cost of large financial purchases or keeping debts hidden is considered financial infidelity by many people. Such secrets can destroy your marriage.
Pat Grenier is a CFP® and General Partner with BRP/Grenier Financial Services in Springfield, MA. Securities offered through Cadaret, Grant and Co., Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. BRP/Grenier and Cadaret, Grant and Co., Inc. are separate entities.
Pat can be contacted by phone at (413) 736-6712, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org