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There are a lot of factors you should consider before you get married, and finances are one. We’ve compiled seven steps you should follow to ensure that your marriage is financially happy.
Marrying someone means that you’ll be merging lives with them, finances included. If you don’t plan how this will affect your lives, it could be detrimental to your relationship.
Studies show that 73% of couples who live together experience tension related to finances, and 47% report that this tension has negatively affected their intimacy.
It would be best to consider the financial expectations your new partner will have of you and your expectations of them. Marrying someone means that you share all their expenses, which you need to consider.
Our guide will help you with these seven tips:
- Share your financial goals
- Create a budget
- Having a joint bank account
- Set expectations together
- Discuss lifestyle choices together
- Review your expenses annually
- Create a living will & trusts
Keep reading this article to learn how you can avoid joining the statistics.
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1. Share your financial goals
The first step should be having a conversation with your partner about your financial goals. You should share your income, debts, bank accounts, investments, and plans.
If you or your partner have any specific goals, this is when you should share them. You and your partner should also share your salaries.
Ideally, it would help if you had this conversation before marriage to prevent problems down the line. Start the conversation by telling your future spouse the current state of your finances.
Next, share your spending habits. You’ll be sharing your life with them, and as such, you must let each other know what to expect. Let your partner know if you’re a shopping addict or a compulsive saver.
You should also tell them about the type of investor you are. Another thing you should speak about is plans and expenses. These plans include your retirement funds, children, and your saving goals.
It would help if you learned how you’re going to fit into each other’s lives financially. Before you marry someone, you should ensure that your financial goals are aligned.
Skipping this conversation can lead to you and your partner finding out that you’re financially incompatible down the line.
2. Create a budget
Before you get married, you and your partner need to create a budget for your married life. Speak to your partner about how you currently handle your finances, then plan how you’ll handle them together.
If you’re going to marry someone, you’ll make major purchases together, such as a house, a car, furniture, insurance, and more. You need to figure out how you’ve going to split costs.
If one partner has a significantly larger salary, it might make sense for them to cover more expenses, such as the housing or vehicle costs, while you manage bills.
There is also the option to handle finances 50/50. There are several other ways to handle cases, and planning a budget is figuring out what works for you and your partner.
The budget conversation should also include how much money you’re going to put in your retirement fund, emergency fund, and the amount you’ll spend on day-to-day expenses.
Financial infidelity refers to making a significant purchase without informing your partner, and it’s enough to end 40% of relationships.
Having children introduces additional financial complications because you’ll need to save for things like their college fund, so it’s important to have a clearly defined budget before committing to tying the not.
3. Having a joint bank account
If you’re going to marry someone, it should be a person you can comfortably make a joint account with. Many couples believe that keeping separate accounts will help them avoid arguments about money.
That is not true in a lot of cases. Keeping your finances completely separate cab lead to feelings of distrust and suspicion. Speak with your future spouse about how you intend to manage your finances.
While you and your partner may agree to keep some money separate, we recommend opening a joint account where you both deposit a fixed amount of money for household expenses.
You and your partner can negotiate the amount of money each person adds to the account. Managing shared spending and saving expenses is crucial for maintaining a financially happy marriage.
A joint account or even linking your finances is a great way to show that you’re serious about having them as a permanent fixture in your life.
If you decide that you want to link all your finances fully, but you feel like that could feel restrictive, you can prevent problems by having a set amount of money in the joint account that your partner can use to buy anything you want.
4. Set expectations together
Both partners likely have individual financial plans for your life, but you also need to factor your partner into these plans if you’re getting married.
Talking to your partner about the timeframe for reaching specific financial milestones, such as buying your first house or even simple pleasures like vacations, is key to achieving financial happiness.
You and your partner’s expectations for the future need to be realistic. You might not be able to purchase your dream home or go backpacking across Europe in your first year of a marriage, but having the conversation lets you know each other’s expectations.
Your partner may have different expectations of how you will manage your finances than you, making having a conversation about expectations even more critical.
Marriage is about compromise, so you need to set goals and expectations that are viable for both parties in the marriage.
If you don’t have these conversations with your partner, it can lead to a buildup of resentment when you or your partner are disappointed.
You should tell each other what's important financially so you can finally learn the best ways to invest in each other’s dreams and goals.
Ideally, it would help to have a conversation about financial expectations before you get married.
5. Discuss lifestyle choices together
It’s important to remember that both parties in a marriage are still unique individuals with their preferences. Before you marry someone, you should have a conversation about lifestyle preferences with them, especially if you plan on having children.
You need to find out if your partner has expensive taste or if they have any expensive hobbies that you should know about.
If you plan to have children, you’ll need to speak about whether your children will go to private or public school and budget for it.
It would help if you had this conversation because you don’t want to be blindsided by any unplanned expenses your partners may introduce through their lifestyle choices.
You have to ensure that the lifestyle you and your partner want to live aligns with your budget. Achieving this may require some negotiating and compromise, so you and your partner need to have the conversation, preferably before you get married.
6. Review your expenses annually
Life is unpredictable, and things and circumstances can change at the drop of a hat. While you must go into marriage with a plan, it’s arguably more important for you to be adaptable.
You and your partner need to evaluate your financial plans annually to adjust for any changes that may have happened during the year.
Changes in your job situation may negatively or positively impact the time frame you’ll reach your goals or the amount of money you can put towards your budget.
You should both do individual reviews, and then you should review your plans together as a couple. If you don’t review your finances annually or more frequently, several things can go wrong.
You or your partner may end up resenting each other if their finances change and the budget doesn’t; one party might end up contributing too much to your shared expenses, or one party may not be contributing enough.
Since life is unpredictable, you may also experience an emergency, such as a major illness, that may change your financial situation.
7. Create a living will & trust
After you get married, you’ll need to update your financial documents. That includes informing your bank about your changing your name.
You also need to update your legal documents, such as your wills, insurance policies, and trust funds, to reflect your partner’s new status in your life.
If you don’t set your spouse as your benefactor, they won’t have access to your assets in the case of any emergency. You should have a conversation about how you plan to alter your wills before marriage, then make the adjustments after your wedding.
Communication and planning are key to having a financially happy relationship. Money and marriage go hand in hand because you’re taking on their financial responsibilities when you marry someone.
You and your future spouse should do your best to become financially independent before marrying. If you’re planning a wedding, now is the perfect time to have a serious conversation about how your finances will impact your marriage.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about money and marriage.
Yes. Money is an important part of marriage, and it will be impossible to separate the two from each other. It doesn’t matter if you choose to keep your finances separate or create a joint account.
Money will be a topic of conversation sooner or later- and it’s important to be open regarding finances.
Money is the backbone of society. You need money to pay for living expenses, not to mention food, car, and insurance costs.
Since you will be sharing all of those and more with your spouse, you will both have to be aware of the money coming in and out of your home.
The decision is yours. Whether you marry someone with little money or a surplus of it, it’s important to discuss your financial situation and goals for the future.
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