Newlyweds across the country are beginning their new adventures into married life, but what most don't realise is the number of financial challenges that marriage brings which they must learn to overcome. Marriage is a wonderful thing and can bring a lot of happiness into people's lives. But in order to build a strong relationship, the one crucial aspect which couples often ignore is the enormity and importance of being able to deal with tricky financial situations that will undoubtedly occur.
The following pieces of advice have been collected across the Internet from couples who have been married for over 10 years and have experienced their own versions of financial troubles. Help save money, understand situations or simply read somebody else’s experiences to see if you can learn how to better navigate the potentially treacherous waters of marriage for a more financially peaceful experience.
Never Hide a Dollar
Do not hide money from your spouse or what you spend your money on. Each person should have an allocated budget allowing them to spend freely on whatever they want, but should be limited to amounts you both agree are fair to spend. Money is there to help improve your lives, do not allow it to cause friction.
If you have a hidden credit card or some other form of money then be honest as there are large statistics out there proving hiding spending like this is often a root cause of numerous marital issues. This doesn’t mean you need to declare everything. However, as both of you plan to spend the rest of your life together, you will have financial goals and plans together. So if one of you is dipping into the savings account regularly then it’s not simply damaging to your finances, its also damaging your trust.
It is crucial that your other half understands your personal and joint goals and how your income is helping you work towards them. If you don’t converse enough about what you both want to do, then the other person might be working against your goals or not showing enough support. If you have plans to save for an early retirement but your spouse has plans to travel to numerous destinations before your 5 year anniversary, then this is a ticking time bomb waiting to erupt into arguments over finances.
Disagreements are bound to happen and there will be certain traits after many years of living together that will annoy you. If you focus on the flaws then they can manifest and become overwhelming. Remain happy by focussing on all the things that you love about that person and use them to forgive their flaws. A positive mind-set keeps a relationship happy and prosperous, while negative thoughts can act like poison, slowly killing internally.
Old Age and Retirement
There is still no cure for age, so come to terms with that fact sooner rather than later. You are both going to get old eventually whether you like it or not and its going to become a challenge at certain ages to continue to work. Having a retirement plan can take a lot of worry away from the relationship and starting in your 20’s gives you a massive jump start compared to couples starting in their 40s.
Talk about this with your partner and create some form of money saving plan to ensure there are no financial worries later down the line when the time comes that where neither of you are able to continue working.
Supporting Each Other
Understand that at times throughout the marriage there will points at which one of you will not be able to work. Plan for instances where the one not working will need to fully depend on the other financially. Otherwise these additional financial burdens that you weren’t accustomed to will prove difficult. This can also happen if one of you loses a job and finds the gap between the next turns out to be longer than expected. Save money together to prepare yourselves for these types of situations and don’t get frustrated. Try to be happy that you can be there to support your spouse in their difficult times and that they would do the same for you.
An emergency fund is an important back up that every marriage should have, i.e. money which has been saved for life emergencies. These can come in the form of a car breakdown, job loss, medical emergency or any other unexpected financial cost. It’s ideal for both of you to start saving money on a monthly basis, preferably in a separate bank to your usual so it’s more difficult to dip into it for spur of the moment purchases. Saving money by setting up an automatic transfer can be a painless way of getting the ball rolling.
Having this extra money saved will help you both overcome the current emergency and also help avoid a fight over money. The aim is to have this money there to deal with the crisis and move on.
A Big House is Not Needed
It’s normal for newlyweds to begin planning their life and family situated within a large house on the street of a perfect neighbourhood. The problem is that those dreams are expensive, the bigger the house the bigger the bills, the bigger the mortgage etc. In the grand scheme of things that large house effectively only ends up becoming an expensive self-storage facility. A typical family will have the main rooms that it uses on a daily basis, with all other rooms being used as storage for possessions and the occasional guest visit.
Your accumulated stuff is also expensive and to have an expensive mortgage to fill up rooms with costly items is bad financial management. Keeps things small and you'll have more control over your finances so that you can both enjoy your money together (rather than putting it all into bills).
This approach can also be adopted to many other large purchases in a marriage, such as a car. There is no need to buy a new shiny car when a cheaper version that is 2 years older can achieve exactly the same results.
Quality Time Together
The greatest financial advice during marriage can be to ensure your marriage is strong by spending quality time with your spouse. Statistically, 50% of marriages end in divorce which is a very costly process including lawyers, solicitors, court fees housing changes etc.
Avoid these financial strains by putting aside time every day or week to spend with your spouse in a quality way e.g. engaging in conversation, playing games together or going for walks etc. Simply watching television does not count because it doesn’t require any level of communication and bonding between you two.
Marriage isn’t a passage to automatic bliss that you simply agree to and it looks after itself. Committing to someone is one of the biggest challenges humans must endure in life and money can be a major topic prevalent throughout its entirety. So if you can both overcome the financial hurdles that marriage throws at you, then it will be much easier to handle everything else.