Marriage and money, happily ever after
Did you get married over the summer? Congratulations! This is the honeymoon period- literally of your new marriage. While it might be all sunshine and butterflies right now, it’s time to inject a little pragmatism in. Lay down the house rules around money.
This may seem decidedly unromantic, but it is one strategy to keep your marriage strong and long- into the happily ever after category. And that’s romantic.
Mergers and acquisitions
Financially speaking, getting married is a lot more than opening up a joint account. You are probably carrying debt of your own, in addition to what you may have accumulated as a couple (perhaps to pay for the wedding, honeymoon or to buy a house).
Not only are you merging your finances, you are merging your attitudes towards money- which can be hugely distant from each other. The time is now to establish that middle ground. When spenders and savers unite, sparks can fly- but they don’t have to.
We all know that some of the keys to a successful marriage include commitment and communication. The same principle applies to responsible, harmonious money management in a relationship.
You have date night, right? Have a money “date” at least once a month. Reconfirm your goals and talk openly about your spending and saving successes. If you need to make changes to your budget, you are best served to identify them early on and change on the fly.
He said, she said
You’re both after the same thing, right? Wherever possible, avoid finger pointing and assigning blame, especially if you differ in your attitudes towards money. One spouse might view credit as a necessary evil, while the other sees it simply as evil. One spouse may classify some spending as “need” while the other clearly has marked the item down in the “want” column. The key is to address challenges as a couple, and to determine how to fix them.
It’s hard when your money management styles are not immediately compatible- but realize that all of your actions (or inactions) are carrying you towards your financial goals (or away from them) as a couple. That’s a pretty compelling reason to compromise!