Financial Tips for Newlyweds
No matter how you look at it getting married can have a huge effect on your finances. From the exorbitant cost of a wedding to merging incomes and debts, it’s no wonder that money is such an important topic for newlyweds. That’s why Trent Hamm at Lifehacker recently compiled a list of financial tips for newly married couples.
Never hide your spending from your partner
While many couples end up opening joint accounts some will either keep their current accounts or simply get an additional joint account. That’s fine but the trouble comes in when one partner (or both) start to make purchases without the other one knowing. Obviously it makes sense for each spouse to have some “pocket money” that they can spend freely but that should be agreed upon and factored into your budget.
The hidden spending in this case is referring to secret credit cards or other debts you may have and are keeping from your partner. In addition to being a violation of trust that could ultimately hurt your marriage this could also directly hurt your finances. For example, if you’re quietly spending on a private credit card and an emergency comes up, you may find that the money you had budgeted for such instances is no longer there. Bottom line: any debts you have or purchases you make should be discussed with your partner so you’re both on the same page.
Plan for retirement
If you haven’t been saving for retirement like you should, getting married can be a great reminder to begin doing so. By starting earlier you’ll be able to save a smaller percentage of your paycheck making it far less painful than trying to play to catch up later on. Whether it’s a 401k, IRA, or Roth IRA, you and your spouse will want to look into retirement account options as soon as possible.
On that note, while it might be a good idea how hold joint checking, savings, and credit card accounts, having separate retirement accounts (or at least one separate account) often makes the most financial sense. For one this will allow both of you to take advantage of any 401k matching program that your employers might have. Additionally, in the event that your marriage doesn’t work out, it will help ensure that you are still financially prepared for retirement.
Start an emergency fund
Another form of savings you should start immediately is building up an emergency fund. It’s always a good idea to set aside between three to six months of expenses in case of a financial emergency such as you or your spouse becoming unemployed. Having this fund when you need it will prevent a lot of hardships, stress, and fighting, which could end up saving your marriage.
How big of a house do you really need?
For young couples who have spent several years living in dorms and apartments the idea of getting a nice, big house might sound like a dream that is now attainable with two incomes. However buying that big home might not be necessary and could have some downsides. Even if you get a good deal on a home larger than what you require keep in mind the extra cleaning, landscaping (if the yard is large as well), and maintenance you’ll have to do in addition to increased electric and utilities bills your big home will demand. Additionally having extra space not only means buying extra furnishings but could also lead to buying or keeping needless stuff. Instead of buying that big dream home maybe stick to something that fits your needs instead.
Of all of the advice that people offer to newly married couples tips involving finances can be some of the most valuable. Being married means being in a financial partnership, which can take some time to adjust to. However, by following these tips you can help ensure that you are your new spouse are financially secure.