Managing Money as a Couple

What does the data tell us about love and money? When you marry or simply share a household with someone, your life changes—and your approach to managing your money may change as well. The good news is it’s usually not so difficult. At some point, you will have to ask yourselves some money questions—questions that pertain not only to your shared finances but also to your individual finances. Waiting too long to ask (or answer) those questions might have some consequences.

First off, how do you propose setting priorities?

One of your first priorities should be simply setting aside money that may help you build an emergency fund. But there are other questions to ask. Should you open joint accounts? How should you title assets that are owned by both of you?

How much will you spend & save?

Budgeting can help you arrive at your answer. A simple budget, an elaborate budget, or any attempt at a budget can prove more informative than you realize. A thorough, line-item budget may seem a little over the top, but what you learn from it may be truly eye-opening.

“Money’s like fuel to the fire, and that can exasperate, inflame, any other type of argument that you have.” – Erik Garcia CFP®

How often will you check up on your financial progress?

When finances affect two people rather than one, statements can become more important. Checking in on these details once a month (or at least once a quarter) may keep you both informed, so that neither one of you have misconceptions about household finances or assets. Arguments can be avoided when money misunderstandings are resolved through check ups.

What degree of independence do you want to maintain?

Do you want to keep some money separate? Some spouses need individual financial “space” of their own. There is nothing wrong with this approach.

Can you be businesslike about your finances?

Spouses who are inattentive or nonchalant about financial matters may encounter more financial trouble than they anticipate. So watch where your money goes, and think about ways to pay yourself first. Set shared short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives.

Communication is key to all this.

Watching your progress together may well have benefits beyond the financial, so a regular conversation should be a goal.

Newlywed Money Tips

Prevent a Rift: Money Tips for Newlyweds

Research suggests that 70% of married millennial couples argue about financial decisions more than any other topic. This could explain why some experts say financial problems are one of the top reasons marriages fail.1,2Fortunately, when couples work together to address their finances, they may be able to mitigate many of the problems money may cause in a marriage.

10 Tips for Newly Married Couples

  1. Communication – Couples should consider talking about their financial goals, memories, and habits, as each partner may come into the marriage with fundamental differences in experiences and outlooks driving their behaviors.
  2. Set Goals – Setting goals establishes a common objective that both partners become committed to pursuing.
  3. Create a Budget – A budget is an exercise for developing a spending and savings plan that is designed to reflect mutually agreed upon priorities.
  4. Set the Foundation for Your Financial House – Identify assets and debts. Look to begin reducing debts, while building your emergency fund.
  5. Work Together – By sharing the financial decision-making, both spouses are vested in all choices, reducing the friction that can come from a single decision-maker.
  6. Set a Minimum Threshold for Big Expenses – While possessing a level of individual spending latitude is reasonable, large expenditures should only be made with both spouses’ consent. Agreeing to a purchase amount should require a mutual decision.
  7. Set Up Regular Meetings – Set aside a predetermined time once or twice a month to discuss finances. Talk about budgeting, upcoming expenses, and any changes in circumstances.
  8. Update and Revise – As a newly married couple, you may need to update the beneficiaries on your accounts, reevaluate your insurance coverage, and revise (or create) your will.3
  9. Love, Trust, and Honesty – Approach contentious subjects with care and understanding, be honest about money decisions you know your spouse might be upset with, and trust your spouse to be responsible with handling finances.
  10. Consider Speaking with a Financial Professional – A financial professional may offer insights to help you work through the critical financial decisions that all married couples face.

“It’s very difficult to be in a relationship with someone if you don’t understand their values and if you don’t understand their attitudes. Money is one of those things where I see so often that people just don’t have healthy conversations about it.” – Erik Garcia, CFP®

1. NPR.org, February 10, 2020
2. Marriage.com, June 8, 2020
3. When drafting a will, consider enlisting the help of a legal, tax, or financial professional who may be able to offer additional insight, especially if you have a large estate or complex family situation.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2021 FMG Suite.

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