Getting married is a huge, and sometimes scary, step. It takes effort and practice to make a marriage work. When it comes to finances, it can be especially difficult learning to balance your excitement and money.
On top of the learning curve, there’s a lot of common mistakes that couples make. If you want to start your new life together on the right track, then avoid these 5 financial mistakes.
Let’s Talk About: Common Financial Mistakes Newlyweds Make
When you’re getting married you and your partner will face certain challenges. A great deal of these challenges will likely be related to money.
If there’s one common theme for all of the following faux pas, it’s the importance of open communication. Make sure you and your future spouse page, and you’ll be one step closer to avoiding these mistakes!
1. Not Working As A Team
Marriage is a union, and once you are married you need to act as a team. This means working and planning together. It doesn’t work if one partner dictates all of the financial decisions, or if one hides money matters from the other.
While one partner may handle the day-to-day, both should have equal involvement in the process. This philosophy goes beyond finances and should be used in other areas of your life together.
2. Failing To Set A Budget
You must sit down and craft a well thought out budget together. Think about your financial priorities. It’s likely that these priorities will not be the same, so you will need to make some compromises.
However, there are certain things that will need to go beyond personal desires. You need to consider your financial obligations. This includes bills, debts, and anything else you will need to pay in the future. But, this also includes some sort of emergency fund. Failure to set money aside for unexpected expenses can ruin a marriage.
3. Not Having A Long-Term Plan
It’s important to talk about your plans for the future. This includes discussing how you plan to finance them. Don’t get married, or even engaged, without sharing your life goals. For example, if you really want kids in the future, you need to communicate this. Kids are expensive and require savings.
You also need to roughly plan a timeline for retirement, homeownership, and anything else you hope to accomplish. Obviously you can’t predict everything that will happen in your future, but you should try and craft a rough idea together.
4. Ignoring Financial Incompatibility
If you notice jarring financial red flags, don’t ignore them. They will not go away once you get married. In fact, they will probably get much more severe as you make larger purchases. Obviously people make mistakes, but sweeping them under the rug is not the answer.
Have conversations when you disagree with the way your partner handles a financial matter. While they don’t have to be the exact same, you and your partner should respect each other’s spending and savings habits.
5. Keeping Money Secrets
Before you get married, at the latest, put it all on the table. Have a completely open and honest conversation about money. If you are embarrassed to share some of your financial secrets, then you may not trust them enough to marry them anyways.
You should talk to your partner about savings, debt, bankruptcies, spending habits, etc. Try and set the precedent that secrets won’t fly during your marriage. This may be a tough conversation to have, so check out last week’s Love & Money if you need some help!