Marrying Your Finances: Five Newlywed Money Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

“For richer, for poorer” is in the wedding vows for a reason: finances are a huge part of marriage. Set off on the right foot as you walk down the aisle by avoiding these common newlywed money mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to living financially happily ever after.

1. Failure to Communicate

Many couples enter into matrimony without understanding each other’s finances. Make time to bare your financial souls to each other well before the wedding. Full disclosure about debt and spending habits is absolutely essential so that potential problems can be addressed before they have a chance to drive a wedge between you.

2. Saying, “I Do” to Debt

Student loans, credit card debt and car payments are facts of life. A couple’s goal should be to pay down their debts together, especially high-interest ones, as fast as possible, without incurring new ones. Don’t overspend on your wedding and come home from your honeymoon to a stack of bills you can’t pay, and don’t take out new loans until you’ve paid off older debts.

3. Spending Without a Budget

Newlyweds are naturally prone to wanting to upgrade their home, cars, furniture and lifestyle to go along with what seems like a more grown-up way of life. Splurging can be a fun way to start your new life together, but it’ll cost you. Every couple should create a detailed budget for their household, and stick to it. Be sure monthly bills are paid and savings goals met before making any major purchases, and spend cash instead of relying on credit. This doesn’t mean you have to constantly deprive yourselves of things you want; figure a little “mad money” into the budget for each person, too.

4. Neglecting to Save

When you’re just back from your honeymoon, it can be hard to think about the future as anything other than a blissful ride down Easy Street. At some point, though, the going’s bound to get tough. Children, illness, job loss—these change everything. Discuss what you want out of life well before the wedding. Will there be children who’ll need a college fund? How do you foresee retirement? Is a large home a priority? Does one of you plan to become a stay-at-home parent? Most couples can attain their financial goals if they identify them early and actively work toward them every month by setting aside part of their income. Even when you’re young, it’s important to have a special savings account set aside for emergencies, too.

5. Taking a One-Sided Approach

One of the toughest things about marriage is sacrificing some autonomy to function as part of a couple. This is true when it comes to finances, too. Many couples create problems by designating one person to be in charge of money. Both partners need to have an equal say in all financial decisions, and they both need access to all financial accounts and records. The modern trend of separate “his and hers” accounts is not conducive to true partnership. Not only can it lead to resentment and inequities down the line, but in the event of the death of one partner, it leaves the other without access to half the couple’s assets.

Start your marriage with an honest discussion about finances and some careful budgeting and goal-setting, and give yourselves a wonderful wedding gift: a chance at a secure financial future.

Byline

This article was composed by Otter Boone for the team at badoo.

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