When two people get married, there is a time of adjustment—a new “normal” must be created as you work together to unite your households. There’re obvious adjustments like figuring out each other’s morning routines, deciding how to decorate your living space, and determining who does what chores around your home. There are also some other adjustments that aren’t quite so obvious. One of these is budgeting.
Every person handles money a bit differently and prioritizes where to spend based on their unique needs and desires. When you get married, it’s important that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to your money. We’ve put together a few pointers to help get you started on budgeting together.
The goal of marriage is oneness… Combine your finances!
Being married is not just another relationship. It’s a lifelong commitment where you become one unit. Two incomes (if you are both working) can be a huge blessing! When you are married you give 100% of yourself to the other person. This means you are open and honest with each other. Your first response should be to serve the other. Your finances in marriage are no different. Use your finances to love and care for your spouse. It is not a situation where one partner should make the other pay for prior bad financial decisions.
Take time weekly to sit down and talk about your budget (if you don’t have one check out this post on the best budgeting software), your goals, and how you can achieve them together!
Tackle debt hard.
According to Dave Ramsey, two out of three marriages start off in debt. This is a huge contributing factor to the statistics citing the second leading cause of divorce is money. When you get married (better yet—before you get married), come up with a plan to get out of debt! Getting out of debt should be your number one priority after you establish your budget. We suggest starting with a debt snowball. This is a simple and effective way of attacking debt. You start by making minimum payments on all your debt, besides the one with the smallest balance. You then take all extra financial resources in your budget and apply them to the smallest balance. Once this smallest balance is paid off, you take the ENTIRE amount that you put towards that smallest one and add it your next smallest debt. You repeat until your debt is paid!
Don’t overspend on a house, be comfortable renting!
A huge mistake that we see many young couples make is rushing into a home purchase. Often, the wrong purchase can blow up your budget, causing unwanted stress. If you’re buying a house, make sure you are buying something under what you can afford. This probably isn’t your forever home, and many times there is a five-year breakeven point before you will actually make money on a house over renting. Purchasing under your affordability or even renting, also gives you flexibility as your family size changes. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a house that’s too small or not in the right neighborhood if children come along.
Save 20% of your income.
Get in the habit of saving early. A healthy budget will allow for 20% savings once your debt is paid. If you’re saving this amount, your down payment for your house, long term savings, and retirement will be funded without problems. Where do you save this? Good question! Because every family’s situation is unique, we would love to discuss your best options.
There’s a lot to look forward to in a marriage. Kids, vacations, home ownership, and a comfortable retirement are at the top of most of our minds. Schedule an appointment with us today. We would be happy to chat about your goals and create a wise and loving financial plan for you.