With this being the busiest season for weddings I thought I would share a few tips for newlyweds. Planning for your financial well being should start before the wedding day. I was going to title this ‘Tips before tying the knot’ and then I realized that these are words of advice for financial well being that can be revisited in any relationship, new or not. My family is a great source of experience and I always try to come back to these:
Discuss your past experiences around money
How was money handled while you were growing up? What is your worst memory around money? What is your best memory? Would you describe yourself as a saver or a spender? Why is money important to you? What are your values around money? By discussing the past, you will have a better understanding of where each of you are coming from and an appreciation for their feelings around money in the future.
Take stock of where each of you stand financially
This is a good time to lay all of the cards out on the table and look at each of your assets and liabilities (e.g. credit cards and loans) objectively. Discuss how those will be handled during the marriage. With any outstanding liabilities, will you pay them off from each person’s respective earnings or tackle them together? If there are significant amounts, seek legal guidance to make an informed decision.
Set guidelines on how to talk about money and manage money going forward
It’s important to discuss expensive items with each other before purchasing them. Purchases that are outside of your normal expenses should be planned and talked about. (Communication is key to your financial well being.)
Put goals for your future together in writing, make a plan to reach them over a realistic timeline, and revisit them on a regular basis.
Life gets busy and it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and lose sight of the long term goals you want to achieve. Schedule a monthly family meeting to review these items at a time when you are well rested and in a good mood.
Seek professional guidance
A Certified Financial Planner can help you with many other important things to discuss and address for your financial well being, such as: establishing an emergency fund, creating a financial plan, setting up a savings strategy, reviewing health benefits, life & disability insurance, updating beneficiaries, and assisting with setting up estate documents. Setting realistic expectations between opposing spouses is often an overlooked benefit to having a financial planner. Wanting to buy a house in one year may be a desire, but just not realistic. A competent financial planner can help you manage expectations.
Starting a life together is exciting and full of dreams and ideas. Make sure to add money to the conversations and take the time to have a plan that will guide you for the rest of your life.
Call me to discuss how to start those conversations and plan for your financial future.