How to Manage Money in Marriage by Guest Author Jennifer Scott

How to Manage Money in Marriage

Jennifer Scott 

The wedding hall is cleared, the glitter dust cloud has settled, and thank-you notes are sent: You are officially past wedding mode and into married life. Newlyweds have a long and exciting time to look forward to together. However, there are also a lot of important decisions to make.

One of the most vital parts of married life is effective money management. It’s important that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to finances. After all, financial disagreements are one of the leading causes of relationship stress, and ignoring money issues is a recipe for disaster. Instead, strengthen your relationship by tackling your finances together with these helpful tips. 

Focus on Frank, Respectful Communication

When it comes to money, there’s no point in beating around the bush. The more frank conversations about money you and your partner can have, the better off you’ll be. Always remember to say exactly what you mean when discussing money.  Passive aggression not only breeds resentment, but it’s also confusing and easily misinterpreted.

Respect should always be at the forefront of any conversation, even (if not especially) when you disagree. Keep in mind that you married this person because you trust them with your future. Treat them like a person you trust, even when their ideas are different from your own.

Pursue Shared Goals

Figure out what kind of financial goals you share. For example, maybe you’d both like to retire early or own your own home – what kind of saving would you have to do to make those dreams come true, and how much home can you reasonably afford? Take monthly expenses and the ideal timeline into consideration so you can make a realistic savings plan.

This is also a good time to discuss family planning and what that should mean for your budget.

If you want to have five kids, figure out the costs associated with that many children and start saving now. If you’d rather have no children and four dogs, what do four dogs cost? Clarify your family plans together so you can make sure you’re financially prepared for whatever future you’re dreaming of.

 Combine Finances

 If you didn’t already live together before marriage, you’ll have a lot of finances to combine now that you are. Even if you did live together, there are likely several services, such as car or health insurance, that it may make sense to combine. Take a thorough look at both partners’ health insurance plans – marriage is a qualifying event to update coverage, and you may be surprised by which of you has the better option for your family. Bear in mind that if either of you own your own business, it’s important that you don’t commingle personal and business funds. This creates a host of unnecessary complications and stress. Combining business and personal funds can put your personal assets at risk, and that’s the last thing you want to do at the start of your marriage.

Have the Difficult Conversations

There are conversations no one wants to have with a partner, especially a new spouse, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. Set a time to discuss serious matters like death and major injury. Figure out how to assign power of attorney to your spouse so that they can make important decisions if you’re ever medically unable to do so. Make sure you both understand what kind of expenses to expect in the event of a death, such as costs for a funeral and burial.

This can feel like a morbid conversation, but remember that arranging these things now saves your spouse work, planning, and headache at a time when they’ll be vulnerable and heartbroken. However, that doesn’t mean the conversation won’t take an emotional toll. Plan an extra-fun date night out afterward to help lighten the mood.

Remember: You’re a Team

Often spouses have different ideas when it comes to financial issues, but try to frame it as the two of you vs. the problem. By handling things as a team, you strengthen your bond as a couple and your future as a family.

Thank you, Jennifer, for your wise counsel! 

 You can learn more about Jennifer Scott at Spirit Finder.

Coming Soon! A New Book By Author Holli Kenley

SHIFTING Bravely: a path to Growth, Healing, and Transformation

                                                                                   Holli Kenley, MA, LMFT

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