Getting married is a time in someone’s life where they are in love and almost oblivious to everything else, especially finances. The planning starts with the wedding and honeymoon, but most of the time brides and grooms will set this aside as a “once in a lifetime event”, and become lenient on their budgets.
While this is bad, it cannot be helped by some people, and they always assume they will be able to get out of debt again. This can be very hard and once you start your married lives together there are so many other financial implications that you have to worry about. This is why planning for the long term is so important for your marriage; even if you don’t think it will make a difference now.
Here are 15 ways you can start planning for the long term in your marriage to avoid getting into debt and to help you get your finances on the right track so that you can live a happy, blessed marriage.
1. Planning for your future is the first thing you must consider. This comes in the form of a retirement plan or policy, so that when you reach a certain age in your life, you can just enjoy the fruits of your labor over the years. Lots of people leave this aspect for too long and either sit with very little money at the end of their working years, or they have to pay so much in installments each month, that your monthly expenditure becomes overbearing.
2. Taking out medical aid is another very important factor. Most people, who never get sick, neglect this, but when it comes time for them to start a family they have no medical aid to cover the hospital fees and maternity care. You can choose a cheap plan for the first part of your married life, but it will really come in handy when you want to fall pregnant, or if you suddenly need get your teeth checked or your eyes tested. Medical aid will work out much better than having to find hundred or thousands of dollars to pay for a procedure.
3. Planning for your family is so necessary to start right away, even if you are only planning to have children later on in your marriage. Children are expensive, and just in the first year of a baby’s life, your expenses can be doubled. This is if you happen to only have one child. What if you find out you’re having twins? Set aside a small percentage of your income each month in a separate account for your future child.
4. Education is also something to be considered for the long term. Find out from your parents how they organized your finances for school, and if they even had any. You will son see that taking out an education plan is also very necessary. You will want the best for your child and this means being able to offer them a good education from Pre-school right up to University level. You will usually only take out an education plan when you child is born, but you can start saving up now by finding out how much the installments are and placing this in a separate bank account.
5. Financing a home is very expensive and many people cannot afford to buy homes right away. Getting a mortgage is the easiest way to finance a home, but you must make sure you can afford the repayments and also take inflation into account. With the current economic crisis all over the world, people who purchased homes just 1 year ago are finding their mortgage repayments almost impossible to pay. If you think your repayments are taking too much of your monthly budget, readjust some things, or take out a part time second job to cover this.
6. Of course you will want to travel, so saving money aside for a lovely getaway in the future is a wise move. Don’t leave this part, thinking it is not important and you could be using the money for something more important. Think of just putting away about $50 each month. That is not a lot of money and in just 5 years that will be $3000 that you have saved for a holiday.
7. Investing your money is a wise option for saving and actually making more money. You will have to be very careful when doing this as there is a risk involved and you should only invest in stocks or shares if you have extra money to spare for this purpose.
8. Thinking long term is the key and here you have to also consider inflation and the changing rate, but you can always place some money each month into a good savings account where you will earn a nice amount of interest. Long term investments can also include using the market options from your bank. They will invest on your behalf and you are pretty much guaranteed a profit, as long as you invest for a 10 year period or longer.
9. Debt consolidation is another way you can save up money. Instead of paying interest on 4 or 5 credit cards and accounts, you can consolidate this into one account and only pay one set of fees. This works especially well if you are in a bit of debt and have some arrears that you want to get rid of quickly. Keeping your name free from bad credit is very important for when you want to get a mortgage or any other loan. Even your policies will work out cheaper.
10. Future planning is always hard, and aside from all the policies you have to take out, you also need to get car and household insurance. Imagine if something like a fire or flood happened at your home and you lost all your belongings. Without insurance you would never be able to recover and your finances would suffer incredibly. If you had an accident and your car was not insured, you would also spend all your money fixing your car or someone else’s. These unforeseen events in life can and probably will happen at some stage and not being prepared can ruin your savings and everything else you have worked so hard for.
11. Planning long term finances does not really include monthly expenses, but certainly if your monthly expenses are ongoing you have to plan ahead for each month. Working out a budget for every month is very necessary to ensure that you stay on track and that you don’t fall short with money. If you find that you have extra accounts to pay for a certain month, you can balance it out accordingly by cutting down on other expenses like fast foods, or entertainment.
12. Saving money the good old fashioned way has helped lots of people to live happy marriages without the constant fighting and stresses that no money brings. If you really want that new HD DVD recorder, or that expensive Hollywood style gym machine, rather save up for it over a few months to make the financial dent in your pocket a bit smaller.
13. Your married life comes with lots of ups and downs and as anything in life you might want someone to talk to about it. Marriage counseling is very healthy for couples and even if you are not having excessive problems, sometimes to avoid these and ultimately divorce or separation, you should talk about issues you have sooner. Planning for seeing a counselor every second or third month can really benefit your marriage and you should consider these types of visits as investments that must be planned for.
14. Planning for extra activities is also needed and will help you to stay happy, healthy and stress free. This could be going to the gym, taking a pottery class, enjoying boat trips together, or having some friends over for dinner once a month. You should keep some of your money aside for your activities. These are not considered as entertainment, but as necessary parts of your life. Your entertainment budget will be for things like renting movies, eating out, going for ice cream, visiting the zoo, going to a nightclub.
15. Finally, the most important aspect of saving your finances for the long term benefit of your marriage will be to expect the unexpected. You should never have no money in your account, and while this is easier said than done with all of the above to pay for each month, you will have to work things around so that you always have some money sitting there just in case. You never know what will happen that will require you to have money right then in the same day. Perhaps your washing machine breaks and you have to go and buy a new one or take your clothes to the laundry. Perhaps you suddenly remember that it is a friend’s birthday and you have to buy them a present.
As you look at each of the above points in more detail, you will see that married life is filled with expenses and while have every right to enjoy your new married lives together and be happy and in love, you also have to take time to face reality and become the responsible husband and wife team who maintains money for their lives together in the long term.
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