Money management is a vital cornerstone of a successful, functioning marriage partnership. Therefore, as a couple, it is important to prioritize how you handle money.
Keep the following in mind when managing your personal finances:
Plan as a Couple
Discuss your goals, savings, investment, and retirement plans as a unit. Depending on whether it is a single- or double-income household, agree on which ideas are affordable to help push your short and long term financial goals.
Budgets are essential tools to tract and account for money allocated and spent. Look at your monthly expenses such as a house, car, utilities and the children and plan accordingly. These amounts can be put in a joint utility account to be paid out as necessary, or each individual can be responsible for taking care of parts of the budget.
Regular Status Reviews
Plan for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly money meetings to assess progress, analyze any over expenditure and keep track of the long term monetary goals such as investments.
This not only puts everything out in the open but builds trust between and reduces the stress and worry factors since money issues are being handled as a team.
People make money mistakes all the time. One may have money weaknesses, such as impulse spending or hoarding. Have continuous open discussions without judgment or accusations.
Patiently encourage each other to practice good money habits such as planning, budgeting, and saving, and do not fear money as it is but a tool to be used for your progress. This goes a long way in maintaining and growing a safe, healthy marriage culture and instill a sense of joint ownership.
There are both good debts and bad debts. Couples should discuss the obligations that need to be handled individually or together. If you come into the marriage with debt, consider whether a portion of your finances should be put aside to manage it or whether you make it a joint debt eradication project.
Take advantage of financial services that assist in low-interest debt consolidation and make use of a personal loan or car loan, even if you have bad credit. Good debt such as education loans, business financing or mortgages should be agreed upon and be handled jointly. Such important goals will feed directly into your mid- and long term development goals as a couple.
Honesty and Trust
Honesty is a voice for love and builds trust in a relationship. It is not easy, and one may end up feeling vulnerable or potentially misunderstood. However, it is essential to have these foundational values, especially when it comes to money matters.
Your spouse may be a bit angry at first at the fact that you splurged on sale, but will later come to respect and value you more for being open.
Guaranteeing Another’s Debt
This is a tricky area for many, especially when it comes to friends and family who request you to secure their loans. Allegiances may be challenged, and filial ties invoked. Have a discussion with your spouse on the pros and cons of guaranteeing someone else’s debt and its potential risks.
Make a joint decision to either support or reject the request based upon your financial standing and ability to incur more risk should they default. Should you decide to assist, adjust your budgets and goals accordingly to cater for the unexpected.
Be Cognisant of Your Financial Commitments
This is key, especially for a single-income household but is also relevant to a multiple-income one. Information regarding things such as bills, credit card payments, loan servicing, car payments, and investment deposits should be necessary information shared between you as a couple.
Ignorance is no defense. In the case of the spouse handling money being unavailable or otherwise unable to perform their duties due to travel or illness, as the partner you should be able to take up the tasks without letting any fall through the cracks.