Congratulations on your marriage!
The merging of financial resources is crucial for every newly married couple. If you are on the same financial page, this can be an exciting moment. However, if you are on two different pages financially, this may be overwhelming.
By following these tips, you can make the transition smooth and stress-free.
Discuss your views on money
Every person has a different childhood that impacts their views and thoughts about money.
It influences their money saving, spending, and investing habits.
Therefore, jump into the money conversation and talk about your first memories of money.
Understand each other’s experiences of having no, little, or too much money at different points and how it shaped your money mindset.
Remember that your childhood experiences of money may be different but that doesn’t mean that one is right and the other wrong.
As a newly married couple, talking about your money memories will help you to understand each other and from there you can work together to start a new path on your financial journey as a couple.
It is vital to establish a culture of openness and honesty from the outset. Encompassing a comprehensive understanding of your present circumstances, including debts, perspectives on debt management, saving strategies, and retirement plans.
By avoiding surprises and fostering clear communication ensures a solid financial footing right from the start of your marital journey.
Should you combine your bank accounts?
As a newly married couple, I would highly recommend combining your bank accounts, but only when you are married and not before.
You are now a couple and working together from the same accounts will create accountability, honesty and a sense of teamwork, because now you’re married, you are a team!
Bank accounts: Combining your finances can be convenient, allowing you to contribute to and pay shared bills from one pool of money, rather than determining how to split expenses.
However, it can also lead to more discussions and potentially more conflict over how money is spent. So be prepared that the first few months may be difficult and not go as planned. So be willing to show both patience and grace to one another. You can do this!
Credit cards: A few credit cards allow joint accounts—where both spouses have the authority to use the card and the responsibility for repayment.
Others allow you to add your spouse as an authorised user. You retain control over the account and are responsible for paying the bill, but your spouse will receive a card with their name on it, or will be authorised to use your card.
But be careful, if you are using your credit card for the rewards, then the reward redemption policies for credit card issuers vary.
If rewards are important to you, connect with your issuer before adding an authorised user to better understand its policy.
However, credit cards can be dangerous. I have seen many people get into crazy levels of debt with their plastic ‘friends’. Personally, I would only use them if you can be sure to clear the balance every month. If you do have credit cards then I challenge you, can you live without them?
Credit history: Coming into the marriage, you each have separate credit reports and scores, which remain separate. If your spouse has unfavorable information on his or her credit report, it won’t affect your score.
However, any new joint obligations will show up on both reports, including mortgages, car loans, and joint bills such as utility bills. That means if your partner pays a joint account late, your credit will suffer, too.
As a newly married couple, budgeting is a crucial step in money management and can become overwhelming.
However, limiting spending and saving for your goals can be fun if you know how to manage your colliding thoughts.
When you have visibility into your financial conditions, you can start planning toward your future goals.
Sticking to a budget can help you keep each other in line and support you through the process.
The spending habits improve as you define the saving areas and lower expenses accordingly.
You can have this conversation at least once a month and stick through it.
Furthermore, you must track your progress and not forget the plan.
Usually, just after the honeymoon, we may indulge in miscellaneous spending without care.
On the other hand, it is also possible to keep as little of a spendable amount and live in misery.
A healthy balance is necessary to keep the fun and know you are in the right financial direction per your plan.
It’s an undisputed truth that embracing budgeting techniques and adopting sound financial strategies increases the likelihood of triumph in both personal endeavors and relationships. Money plays a pivotal role in our lives, and by adhering to a shared financial plan, you and your spouse can confidently embark on a journey towards shared success and prosperity.
If you would like to know more about budgeting, then check out my blog on Why Budgeting Is Essential.
You can purchase my super, simple Excel Budget Spreadsheet, it’s a great tool to start you off on your budgeting journey! Find our more HERE!
Make a plan for your financial future
Newly married couples should also discuss retirement and long term goals, such as buying a house or taking a dream holiday.
If, as a couple and you can afford to, it’s a good idea for both spouses to be contributing to retirement accounts and set up an automated system to facilitate saving for those long-range goals now.
Buying insurance is a vital part of adult life, especially once you’re married. For example, you could potentially save by bundling your car insurance onto one plan.
If you’re making financial commitments that rely on two incomes, such as buying a house or having children, a life insurance policy can contribute your share to the budget if something happens to you.
Remember Values, not numbers
As newlyweds, remember that what’s important is your attitude towards money, not how the numbers look.
The key isn’t how much money you have or spend, but how you spend it, how you manage it and how both of those situations affect your marriage and relationship with your spouse.
Disagreements over money issues are the second reason couples divorce for a good reason. Remembering your values as you navigate your financial ups and downs ensures you and your spouse stick together as a team.
Unfortunately, emotions can run high and can often get in the way of making the right decisions financially.
When you discuss money with your spouse, you need to have a level head. This will take practise, but you can get there with the help of each other.
When we set clear boundaries with a regular budget, it meant that our financial talks that weren’t interrupted by emotion.
Find some money mentors or a financial coach
Managing your money as newlyweds can be tricky. You have to be honest with yourself and your spouse.
As we’ve discussed earlier, talking about money can be a highly charged emotional subject. Let’s face it, talking about money doesn’t come easy for many people.
Those with debt often feel overwhelmed or ashamed. When we’re feeling down, it’s easy to go shopping and that’s where money mentors or a financial coach can really help.
Having a neutral couple or a coach to talk to can be very powerful. When it comes to managing our own money, it’s easy to make excuses for ourselves, to tell ourselves in the moment we’ll save or pay down our debt later. I know, I’ve been there!
When you work with money mentors or a coach, you know that the next meeting with them is in the diary, and you’re going to have to discuss your purchases —and that can be just the thing you need to make better choices.
Additional Tips for Newly Married Couples
Set a Time to Talk
Don’t spring a money conversation on your spouse when they aren’t expecting it. Set aside mutual time for a meeting.
Recognise Your Differences
Everyone has a different relationship with money. It’s not a requirement that you understand why your spouse feels the way they do, but it is important that you recognise and respect those feelings.
It might be difficult, but one of the best ways to have productive money conversations with your spouse is to create a judgment-free space.
Regardless of your better half’s financial situation, it’s important to approach it with compassion and neutrality as you work together to create a plan.
It might be tough to talk about money, but that doesn’t mean you need to fight about it with your spouse.
If you set a dedicated time for money conversations. That ensures that everybody is mentally ready to discuss the topic.
This way, the person initiating the conversation won’t feel dismissed if their spouse doesn’t have the time, energy, or desire to have an impromptu discussion.
If things get heated, as I know they can do, agree on a way to take a time out, and remember that the way you ask for a time out is as important as taking one.
There is No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Strategies and techniques that work for you may not work for your spouse. Trying to force someone to adopt methods that aren’t comfortable for them can potentially make matters worse. Be patient and show grace.
Practise Makes Perfect
Money is not a one and done conversation. It’s something you’ll need to come back to again and again. But the good news is that the more you talk about money, the easier it becomes.
I know that merging finances when you are a newly married couple can be a challenge, but believe me, it’s an important step in building a strong and stable relationship.
By having an open and honest conversation with your spouse, creating a budget together, deciding how to merge your finances, setting financial goals together, and being prepared for unexpected expenses, you can create a solid financial plan for your future together.
Hi, I’m Karen, I am a blogger and finance coach. My speciality is helping couples get on the same financial page and win with money and marriage.