With marriages becoming harder to work at every day and the divorce rate constantly on the rise, how can you make sure you are not one of those in the soon to be divorced or divorced category? Well, one of the most important factors to take into consideration in a marriage is the finances. Monetary matters are always the most difficult to work out and often the most sensitive of subjects to brooch, but it is really necessary if you want to have a good married life free from stresses and disappointments. There are 15 main things you must make note of when managing your finances with your spouse so that you stay out of debt and keep your marriage on a good, even keel.
1. Keep Communicating
This is really very important, because lack of communication about most things causes problem, but when it comes down to money, this can spell disaster, not only for your bank account but for your marriage too. If you want to invest or buy things, save, donate, or anything else regarding your money you must talk about it. Even if you earn the money, your spouse still has a right to know everything about where it is going and how you are going to spend it.
2. Draw up a Budget
If you are going to spend money together you will have to have a plan as to how this will work. Living with someone and managing finances means that everything you do will have to be sorted out together and you must both know the plan. You will have to discuss what amount you can spend each money and sort out the percentages of your combined income that will go towards rent or mortgage payments, food, entertainment and other accounts.
3. Set Realistic Goals
When you live with someone else and you also want to start a family and settle down, things become more complicated in terms of finances. You should both set realistic goals as to where you want to be financially in 5 years or 10 years time. If you are saving up to buy a home, don’t convince yourself that you will be able to do this in 2 years, because you might have other unforeseen events that delay your savings. Rather take longer to plan and ensure that you are always secure in your finances and have adequate funds for healthcare, extra food and household items, or other monthly items.
4. Spousal Expectation
This is very important as you will have to make sacrifices and compromise so that you and your spouse can both get what you want. To make sure your spouse can enjoy his weekend golf games, you might have to give up going on those expensive shopping sprees, or instead of doing two activities a week, just focus on the one. There are expectations that each person will have coming into a new marriage and working out where you can spend money and on what, becomes a challenge that you have to face with an open mind and an open heart.
5. Your In-Laws and Parents
With all the money you are saving for a rainy day or for something specific, you should not neglect your families. Parents get older and you might have to eventually take care of them. Together with your spouse you should set aside some of your finances for just this purpose. You might have to also pay monthly fees to a nursing home or retirement village, which you must also take into consideration.
6. Your Salaries
Earning money as a cashier might be fine while you are at college or working just to support yourself, but once you enter into a committed relationship, you will have to look at how much you earn and how much you are likely to spend. You will be getting a bigger house and one day when you have children, your home will have to be bigger still. You will want to buy 2 cars and have all the luxuries you dream of. This means that when you get married, one of the first things you must think about is what you and your spouse can do to earn more money and what you are doing to improve your financial situation if you need to.
7. The Lifestyle You Want
Making sacrifices is all well and good, but if you want to live a certain lifestyle, then you must make sure you discuss this with your spouse and work out a good plan so that you can do this. If you want to have lots of great things and live in a fancy neighborhood, then you will have to cut down costs on other things and perhaps get a better job to pay for it. You could cut down costs by using public transport or only having one car. If your lifestyle includes driving the best car and never using public transport, you must look at other ways you can cut down costs so that this lifestyle fits in your budget. Remember that you cannot have everything right away, especially if your salaries don’t allow for it. Take things one step at a time and work towards the dream lifestyle you want to live.
8. Debts and Accounts
When you are planning your budget, make sure you can pay all of your accounts and any debts that you have. If you fail to do this you can both get a bad name with the various credit bureaus and you will find it very hard to do anything. Being married in community of property is the worst for debts, because they consider yours and your spouses as one. It is very necessary to pay these debts off quickly and get debt free by taking drastic measures at the beginning of your marriage like no entertainment until this has been paid off. Wait until you are debt free before you have a child, and cut down on your monthly expenses drastically. Any other accounts and credit cards that you have, must be paid very month on time to avoid massive increases in your interest rates and to avoid being in arrears.
9. Stick to your Plan
Often times, people become too blasé when it comes to their finances and they convince themselves that a night out wont make that much of a difference. If you really want to achieve everything in life and have the lifestyle that you dream of, then stick to your plans and get your spouse to commit to this as well. Don’t change the plan, unless something drastic and unforeseen happens, and try your best to stick to the exact payments and expenses that you set out for each month.
10. Policies and Insurance
For any event in your life as a married couple you must be prepared financially. Whether it is the arrival of a new baby, medical emergencies, retirement, or educating your children, you must have certain things in place to pay for everything. It is expensive to cover all these costs, which is why you should plan ahead and start now with various education plans, healthcare policies and other insurance plans so that you and your family are safe and secure and always covered financially.
11. Buying a House
This is something that every couple should aspire to and if you are finding it hard to save up for buying a home, you are not alone. This is one of the big decisions in life that every couple will have to talk over and decide if they can afford. You will have to take into consideration the growing markets which will push your mortgage rates up all the time, the maintenance costs involved in owning your own home, the rates and levies that you have to pay as well as any costs involved through unforeseen events. You have to make sure you are prepared for all of this.
12. Starting a Family
Family planning is a large factor in your financial management and depending on whether you want to start a family now or in a few years time, you must discuss all these types of plans so that you can prepare your finances accordingly. You will have to spend a lot more money once you have a baby and you must make sure you are prepared for this responsibility and to give your child everything you want for him or her.
13. Appoint a Manager of Money
In many marriages, one spouse is in charge of the finances and handles the money. This is usually if one spouse is more capable than the other or if one spouse does not want to be involved in this aspect. If you are managing all the finances, you must still keep your spouse up to date and let them know what you are doing.
14. Each have Bank Accounts
Sharing your money and expenses can reach a stale mate where you might not be able to open accounts or have any credit because everything in under your spouses name. Share the accounts and expenses so you both have good credit records and you should each have a bank account where your salary is paid.
15. Don’t Give up
This is a strange thing to hear for managing finances, but you may very well get into a sticky situation where you are in debt and just feel despondent about your finances. The trick is to keep working at it together and make other plans that will be more effective.
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