Financial management for newly married couples is one of the biggest changes a person will go through. Most people are already well aware that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, and that one of the most frequently cited causes of divorce is financial problems.
There are several things you can do to increase insure you have a happy marriage by improving your finances.
Be honest about debt
Couples considering marriage need to be upfront and honest about their financial situations, including any outstanding debt. This includes:
Many people fall in love and get married only to find out later that their partner is deeply in debt. This newly discovered issue often leads to resentment and financial problems that can be difficult to overcome. Credit card debt can be especially debilitating because the interest is often much higher than student loans, auto loans or mortgage rates. Talking with your partner about any financial liabilities before walking down the aisle is critical to warding off any unpleasant surprises later in the marriage.
Creating a budget and a payment plan is a good way to establish how you will pay off debt as a couple. Put your plan in writing, and follow up every few months to make sure you are on track. Eliminating outstanding debt can bring some harmony to your relationship.
Talk about priorities
One of the main causes of relationship strife is different spending habits. If one partner is a spendthrift and the other partner is frugal, you may be constantly battling over how much is spent. Additionally, expectations are an important component in how satisfied a couple feels with their financial situation. Financial priorities form almost every decision a couple makes. Here are some questions that you should answer – or at least bring up and think about – with your partner:
Being on the same page when it comes to long-term priorities will make it easier to achieve financial goals as a couple – and increase the chance that both partners will be satisfied in the relationship.
Make a plan and write it down
According to a 2009 National Consumer Survey on Personal Finance, only 17% of respondents had established a financial plan in writing that they follow up on regularly.
Having a written financial plan will help you pay down debt, fund your retirement, save for emergencies, and help you build your savings. If you are not sure where to begin, a financial advisor can help you create a written plan for managing your finances. Working together as a couple to create a solid financial footing will reduce the likelihood that financial problems will play a role in your relationship.
Once you establish your written plan, it is equally important that you continue to update your plan as you reach your goals. Financial planning is ever-changing. Over time, your priorities as a couple can change and so can your goals. Thus, it is important to assess your financial needs throughout the course of your marriage.
It is never too late
While it is best to talk about finances before you are married, it is never too late to get on the right track. Even if you have been married for 30 years and feel overwhelmed by debt or other financial obligations, it is never too late to establish a plan together. Being honest with your partner about expectations, priorities, and obligations and making a plan to tackle these issues together is the key to eliminating financial worries as a stress point in your marriage.
Alan Webb at Quail Creek Investment Center can help you plan for your financial security. Contact Alan today at 405-755-1000 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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