U.S. Markets closed

Just Married? Here Are 5 Essential Money Moves

Rudro Chakrabarti
Just Married? Here Are 5 Essential Money Moves

You’ve traded rings. You’ve said “I do.” And you threw a party that everyone will be talking about for months. Now it’s time to stop talking fiances and start talking finances.

It might not be the most romantic conversation, but managing money well is vital to keeping your shiny new marriage happy and healthy.

Financial stress is one of the most common reasons for divorce, and 86% of couples who got married in the past five years started out their marriage in debt.

On the other hand, 87% of couples with great marriages report that they discuss money plans regularly, and couples without debt problems are more satisfied with their marriages overall.

In other words, couples who save together, stay together.

So now that you’re back from your honeymoon, take these five steps to manage your marital finances, and enjoy your wedded bliss free from money stress.

1. Open up about your credit history

fizkes / Shutterstock
It's important to know each other's financial histories.

The best time to come clean about your credit history is before the wedding. The second best time is now.

If you are combining finances and financial responsibilities, it’s important to understand where you both stand.

Getting a full credit report and credit score is the best first step for the two of you to understand where you are starting off and what you need to do next.

2. Roll all of your debts into one

eggeegg / Shutterstock
If you're both struggling, consider consolidating your debt.

Credit card debt, student loans, outstanding auto loans and lingering medical bills can all add up to too many bills and too much interest to keep track of.

If you find yourselves stuck, it might be time to consider debt consolidation.

A loan comparison website such as Fiona can show you lenders willing to help you pay off your outstanding debt and eliminate the headache of dealing with multiple bills. Instead, you'll make just one payment each month, and probably at a lower interest rate.

3. Prepare for an emergency

antoniodiaz / Shutterstock
Protect yourself from unforeseen expenses.

When it comes to saving for emergencies, most Americans are woefully unprepared.

A 2018 study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) revealed that 46% of households don't have suitable rainy day funds.

The best way to protect yourself from unexpected expenses — like a major car repair, a hospital stay or a bout of unemployment — is to start saving now.

Most experts suggest having enough money put aside to cover of a minimum of three to six months' worth of expenses for your whole family.

And as a bonus, if you keep your savings in a high-yield savings account, you'll earn interest on your savings while you grow your emergency fund.

4. Insure your family’s future

SewCream / Shutterstock
It's never too early to think about life insurance.

It’s never too early to make end-of-life plans. Now that you’re married, it’s not just you anymore, and you need to plan for your family’s financial future.

Depending on your age and health, life insurance can be a cheap and easy way to make sure your family is protected from financial ruin if the worst should happen.

There are plenty of ways to compare insurance rates online that won’t take much time at all.

All of this may seem a little morbid, but don’t let it ruin your post-honeymoon glow. There’s nothing more romantic than financial security.

5. Put money to work in the market

AshDesign / Shutterstock
Dive into the stock market to start building wealth.

Once you are on your way to being debt-free, you have money set aside for emergencies and you have your future secured against the unexpected — what's next?

Building wealth, of course. One of the best ways to grow your money is by investing in stocks, but who has the time — much less the knowledge — to manage their own stock portfolio?

Automated investing services, including Wealthsimple, take the wheel and invest your money in a number of different ETFs, based on your level of risk.

The easiest thing about these services is that they automatically readjust your portfolio to market changes — and reinvest your dividends to accelerate your profits.

Join the MoneyWise mailing list. You’ll get the latest financial tips and news, straight to your inbox.