Believe it or not, I rarely get the question, “What financial advice would you give newlyweds?” But I wish I did. It was difficult to narrow down basic topics that I would give. Here are some I think are crucial to making things work financially.
Talk about your finances. Each of you are coming into this marriage with preconceived notions about money. What worked for your parents will probably not work in your marriage, so discuss things openly. What are your financial goals? How much debt do you have? Do you live on a budget? Who’s the saver and who’s the spender? Learn how your spouse reacts to money, and this will help you in times when things aren’t going so well.
Do not purchase a home during your first year of marriage. Most people will tell you, and I think the statistics support this, the first years of marriage are the most stressful. Even if you have dated a long time, getting married and the adjustments that come with that cause friction. Your spouse is going to make you mad, and sometimes for no reason at all. Don’t add the stress of buying (or building) a home during that time frame. Give your marriage the time it needs to settle in. Once you are on the same page financially, and things have calmed down, then go out and tackle the home purchase. Make sure to have a good down payment as well.
Work on a budget. I am still amazed at the number of people that don’t live on a budget given how easy it is to set one up. There are a number of free online tools you can use to do it. I use a basic excel spreadsheet. Unless you live on a budget, your money is managing you. Take control, and manage your money so that you know what’s going on in your financial household.
Admit when you make mistakes, and don’t hide accounts or spending. Not long ago, I had clients that divorced after thirty-five years of marriage. Basically, one spouse had signed up for a credit card and incurred $20,000 in debt. The other spouse didn’t have any issue with the debt (after the initial shock wore off), and paid it off. However, they could not get past the betrayal of the other spouse not telling them. It ruined their marriage, despite everything I could do to try and get them to reconcile.
Get a will. Yes, I know it’s not even on your radar. But if you die intestate, or without a will, the State of Tennessee has one for you, and I can guarantee you probably won’t like it. This is even more important if this is second marriage that is blending families.
If you are getting married soon, congrats! Give our Gallatin office a call at 615-461-8653, or check us out at paulwinkler.net. We can set up a free initial consultation to determine if we can help you with your current situation.
Until next month,