No doubt as newlyweds you’ve received a lot of advice on marriage. We’re not here to coach you on how to determine who’s doing dishes and who’s taking out the trash tonight, though we hear rock-paper-scissors is a good tie-breaking tactic.
What we do know is that communication is integral to maintaining a healthy and thriving relationship. That includes figuring out how to handle your shared finances. Here are 8 essential financial tricks for new married couples. Let’s check it out!
1. Have an Honest Conversation
Couples should start by sitting down together to discuss your financial history and experience, plans for the future, and who will be the one responsible for paying the bills.
And don’t forget the whole banking sitch, too.
Of course, the decision to open a joint bank account is something you and your gushing newlywed will need to talk about. After all, you two know each other best, so it might be more comfortable for you to maintain separate bank accounts. Either way, it’s a choice that needs to be addressed.
2. Talk About Financial Goals
For many, getting married is a milestone of “adulting.” It’s a surefire sign that you’ve accepted all the responsibilities of being a grown-up. You know, like bills and stuff — the responsibilities you weren’t aware of when you were six and dreamt of being an astronaut and a firefigh
The point of discussing your financial goals, of course, is to identify how you’ll work toward achieving them.Consider the effect of buying a home, for example. You’ll need to figure out how to save up for a down payment before you even start the lengthy home buying process.
2. Establish a Budget
A budget isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s what will support your ability to do the exciting things you’d like to. Sit down together and construct a budget. Address areas that have to be included — like your mortgage and credit card bills — but don’t forget to leave yourselves with some spending money. So, follow your budget strictly to avoid overspending or burdening yourselves with excessive debt.
3. Save, Save, Save
Married couples often don’t spend lots of money on housing, healthcare, bills, and groceries than their single counterparts. Your first and foremost goal should be setting up an emergency fund. An emergency fund will tide you over in case one of you unexpectedly lose a job, your car breaks down. Having sufficient savings available means you’ll avoid the added stress and tension caused by an emergency.
4. Reconcile Any Wage Differences
Earning less than your partner can lead to feeling as if you’re worthless, but that’s not the case. Not all jobs are created equal, even if you work just as hard. Confront pay disparity head-on, before it has the chance to cause illogical resentment and tension.
There’s no one tried-and-true solution for approaching income inequality in a marriage, though. You’re going to need to figure out what works best for you and your boo. Doing equal amounts of work or using a rewards system can help negate the downsides of pay disparity in your marriage.
5. Assess Your Life Insurance Needs
When was the last time you assessed your needs for life insurance? You’re married now. Consider protecting your spouse’s financial future is important for you. You can get an affordable term life policy online without a medical exam.
Seriously though, term life insurance is effective for protecting the financial well-being of your marriage at a time when you’re most vulnerable — before you’ve had the opportunity to increase your income or savings and you still owe significant debt.
Life insurance for young married couples protects everything you’ve worked for while you’re alive and healthy. It’s lasting protection that helps demonstrate your undying love and desire to provide for your family.
6. Understand How Marriage Affects Your Taxes
Since we’ve already talked about death, let’s not forget taxes! Your joint income might push you into a new tax bracket and your filing status is likely to change, too. In most cases, it’s likely you and your spouse will choose the “married filing jointly” filing status, in which you fill out one tax return. However, it may sometimes be advantageous to choose “married filing separately,” particularly if one of you has high medical expenses or too little Federal income tax withheld.
Money discussions aren’t always easy for newlyweds. But, as with any marriage issue, it’s best to approach them with an open mind and as a team. The more thoughtfully you work together on money matters, the more financial harmony you’ll maintain in your life together.