When you’re getting married, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning the wedding and honeymoon and overlook more practical aspects of marriage — like your finances. As you transition from single life to being in a married couple, follow these steps to secure a successful financial future.
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Have a Financial Check-In
When it comes to marriage and money, most couples encounter some sort of problem at one time or another. After all, money is one of the most common causes of relationship issues, so have an open discussion about your finances. Both partners need to be honest about where they are in terms of their debt and savings so you can assess where you stand as a couple. Consider things like your credit scores, emergency funds and loans. Don’t forget to take a close look at retirement and insurance, especially if one partner’s work status will change after getting married.
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Set a Budget
Setting a budget that you both agree is the best way to stay on the same financial path. Start off by identifying your long- and short-term goals. Are you saving for a car, a vacation, a career switch or a home? Identify a number that you feel comfortable going directly to savings every month — if possible, 10 percent of a paycheck is a great benchmark to try to reach for.
Next, account for all of your sources of income and where it is all spent broken out by category. See if your spending is in a good place or if you need to pull back in certain areas. Assign a clear amount for every category in your budget to ensure you are always on the same page with your partner.
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Get Down To Business
A lot of married couples merge some or all of their accounts, and you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Take a look at what both of your banks offer and decide the best way to consolidate your accounts. If you are changing your name after you are married, you should wait until that is complete before you deal with your bank to ensure everything is in your new name.
While it can be a difficult topic, now is also the time to look into or discuss a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself and your financial assets.
Keep Lines Of Communication Open
When you are starting off as a married couple, be clear on who will take on which responsibilities for managing your finances and check in every month to make sure you are on track. Most importantly, always be respectful of each other and approach spending and saving as a team.
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