Marriage is a wonderful thing and the least you expect is stumble into money problems early on in your relationship. But the sad part is that in life, you and your spouse will have to face problems of all sorts from finances to career and even family matters. But the good thing about this is that you, as a couple can face it together and you get to have each other’s back.
Together you can solve debt problems that creeps up on your relationship to make sure that you get ahead of the problem and not get buried with them. When you get married, you need to understand that you might need to change a little bit on how you addressed money problems in the past when you were still single and living alone.
Before, you had to look for ways to solve the problem and act on those solutions all on your own. Yes you might have friends that can help you but at the end of the day, it is about what you do and what mindset you take to solve your problems. You face them on your own and the actions you take will dictate how you rise above your financial challenges.
And the forecast is not looking so good with CBSNews.com explaining that there has been about $57 billion net increase in new debt with credit card in American households. That means that consumers are again charging so much expenses in their credit cards. Given that there are identity theft problems but this still mostly makes up consumer purchase increase using their credit cards. And this forms only part of the money challenges you will have to face.
Financial problems by couples
Solving money problems can be a little bit easier when you have an idea what you might be in for. As a married couple, here are some of the most common problems areas when it comes to your finances.
- Differences in spending attitude. As you get into a relationship, you might found out that your partner is either a saver or a spender. You might have different personalities or the same but the important thing is that you find the balance in your budget when it comes to your personality. If you are a saver and your partner is a spender, you can be the voice of reason whenever purchases are up for discussion. It can be the other way around and your spouse is the one who sits down and thinks things through. You might be both savers and you need to find the balance where you do not deprive yourselves of things you need just to save. But if you are both spenders, you need to carefully approach every financial decision because you both might end up using your budget just for shopping.
- Planning for retirement. Your money problems might include how you both prepare for retirement. There are retirement facts that can help address anxiety if one or both of you are unsure how retirement will change you life. There are also a lot of financial tools that you can use to help you prepare for retirement. The important thing is that you talk about it and you start saving for retirement as early as possible. If you can, make it one of your top priorities early in your married life. The earlier you start, the more compound interest works in your favor.
- Setting up reserve funds. You will never be able to predict what will happen in the future. One of you might lose a job for a few months or the house you bought might need some big repairs in a few year’s time. These financial emergencies will start to be money problems for you and your spouse only if you do not have reserve funds to cover the emergency. This funds constitutes your emergency as well as your rainy day fund. The emergency fund covers the big problems while the rainy day fund offsets smaller unexpected needs. Your reserve fund needs to equal a few month’s worth of your household expenses so it can cover those months where income is non-existent. Just make sure that after you get everything settled and back to normal, build your reserve funds back up again.
- Saving for the children’s college fund. WSJ.com in tradition congratulated the class of 2015 for having the highest average student loan debt per borrower at $35,000. This was about $33,000 in 2014 which means if the trend continues, we will be congratulating again the class of 2016 with an even higher debt per borrower. That is why one of the things you and your spouse would need to agree on is a college fund for your kids. You might have different opinions on the matter where one would like to start one and the other believes taking out student loans is right of passage. But you need to remember that it takes so much away from them in their early years and this is your chance to help them with that.
- Relatives asking for financial support. When you get married, you double the size of your family and if you have your own relatives asking for financial help, that number might double. The way to go about this is that if you have money to spare, agree on amounts that you can give to family. Be wary of cosigning loans for them because this can affect your credit score if they fail to make payments and put a wedge on your family relationship.
- What debts to pay down aggressively. This can include different approaches in payment whether to consolidate the loans or be aggressive with some of the higher interest payments. Whatever payment strategy you see fit, you need to discuss it with your spouse so you are both on the same page. Whether it is deciding to consolidate your loans to make repayment easier or to just monitor your payments,you both have to agree on it.
How to manage finances as a couple
Statisticbrain.com explains that there are about 3.4 per 1,000 marriages that ends up in divorce for various reasons but finances will always be one of them. Here are a few tips to make sure that you and your spouse are managing your finances to the best of your abilities.
- Support each other. You need to support each other with the decisions and even the shortcomings your marriage takes. If one partner loses a job, it is better to express a positive attitude and assure your partner that they will get a new one in no time. If you make mistakes with purchases, understand why it happened and push for ways to prevent it from happening again instead of fighting over it again and again.
- Learn how to invest your money. One of the ways you can reach your retirement goals is to invest your money. Again, this is because compound interest helps you increase that amount over time. But do not let your spouse do all the work, you need to also understand how it works or where you money is being invested to make sure that you are both on the same financial page.
- Have a check and balance attitude with expenses. When you want to buy big ticket items, make sure that it is a joint decision because your spouse might have a better idea or knows of a better deal than the one you are looking at.
Money problems will exist in marriage and this should be treated as a stepping stone that strengthens your marriage rather than break it. You need to make sure to fix disagreements and not throw your relationship away.