Marital finances form an important aspect of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. As you make a life together, your finances will play a crucial role in determining how successful you both are in reaching them. You can make plans all you want but as soon as you talk about execution, money will start to play a major role.
CDC.gov shares that for every 2,000 people, there are about 14 that got married in 2016. Getting married is a serious life decision. It is not like food that you can spit out when you don’t feel like eating anymore. Similar to playing games where you get to have a restart button when you mess up, marriage and life, in general, will continue on making you face your problems.
One of the things you need to be serious about when you get married is your finances. It is so important that sometimes, you might already be committing financial infidelity without you knowing it. There are a few twists and turns when you are managing marital finances. You just have to imagine how challenging it was when you were still single. Now that you are married, it becomes a little more demanding.
There are quite a few points you have to focus on when looking at your finances as a couple. This will take some time to getting used to. It is because you have been doing it for the longest time either with your parents or just by yourself. Now that you have to consider another person into the mix, you have to do things a little differently. Here are a few tips on how to approach marital finances and how to get it right.
Use each other’s money skills
One of your strengths as a couple are your unique differences. One of you could be a great cook while the other is great at DIY project around the house. You could have a talent with kids while your spouse is great with numbers. Whatever it is, you will always have different strengths. When it comes to your finances, it is best to take advantage of those differences.
The first thing you need to do is identify what each of your money skills is. Who is good with keeping tabs of expenses regardless of the amount? Are you capable of ensuring your expenses are brought down to a certain level? Who has the ability to increase the income in the household? As soon as you know your financial strengths, you can check out the second point.
Share financial responsibilities
You need to share the financial responsibilities as a couple. There were stereotypes in the past where women stayed at home and men handled everything else including finances. Times have changed and equality is thriving as it should be. Especially as a couple, you need to take advantage of your skills to help the marriage grow.
Assign the person who is good in monitoring expenses to make sure you do not go over budget when doing the groceries. The person who can have the ability and time to check out rates before making a big purchase can be in charge of financial spadework. The idea is for the both of you to put your money skills to good use for your marriage.
Have an open line of communication
Financial mistakes will happen even to the best of us especially when you get married. What you need to remember is to have an open line of communication. You need to get into the habit of talking about your finances. It is important not to hide anything from your partner. Unless it is a surprise gift for a birthday or anniversary, it is best to share it with your spouse.
This can come as a challenge especially if you have been used to doing things on your own for the longest time. You just have to remember that now that you are married, you have to face things together. This includes marital finances. It would be hard to compartmentalize information because you run the possibility of exposing them to risk. Be open and remember that you are coming in from different backgrounds. This can make agreements a little harder to come by.
One of the things that can help you communicate better is if you put together your household budget as a couple. This can help your marital finances in two ways – you get to agree on a budget as well as practice your communication skills. The bottomline is you get to agree as a couple on how much you are making and how much of that is going out for payments. As you budget together, you need to allot time to regularly review the same as well. This will help you ensure that you are on the right track.
Talk about big ticket expenses
One of the more important things you need to agree on is the purchase of big ticket items. You might have already practiced this when you talked about your wedding. Though CNBC.com shares that it is possible to get married with just a $1,000 bill. The important thing in talking about big expenses is to ensure you are on the same page. The last thing you need is coming home with big television set only to be surprised with a new car in the garage. This sounds great until you sit down and figure out how you are going to pay for all of it.
Take on debt together
When you talk about your marital finances, it ceases to be just about your income and your expenses. It now becomes both your income as well as shared expenses. As a couple, taking on debt together means agreeing to share the load together. Once you get a mortgage loan, you both have to find the way to keep current on your payments. The same is true with all other debt accounts, you have to agree on it as a couple.
Agree on long term financial goals
As a couple, you will still bring in your individual aspirations into your marriage. It can be early retirement to having a large family to even starting up a business. Whatever these are, you need to talk about and plan your long term financial goals to support these dreams. It is a lot easier to realize them with a support system and your partner will always have your back.
Build up an emergency fund as part of your marital finances
Now that you are married, you need to start thinking about the future and preparing for it. You also need to ensure that your finances are protected by building up your emergency fund. This is one of the best ways you can be proactive with your financial planning. It can also help you stay out of debt in the future. This is because as soon as an unexpected problem comes along, your first thought will not be to cover it with your card. You can tap into your reserves to get you through a tough time.
Marital finances might sound intimidating but it is actually simpler than it sounds. You just have to remember that you have a partner that will be working with you in reaching for both of dreams.