Before walking down the aisle the new couple should have a conversation regarding their existing financial situation, their savings, and their spending behaviors. Typically the spouses differ in their habits, so it’s recommended that they open a joint account for handling household expenses and keep a separate savings account with their own money, so as to maintain their individual spending identity and credit.
A separate conversation is required for debt. If the groom is debt-free and has a great credit score, but the bride has messed up her student loan repayment resulting in a lackluster rating, both partners should be aware of the situation so they know how to best address the matter. When it comes to marriage and money, honesty is the best policy as the sad truth will only complicate matters unnecessarily.
As unromantic as this may sound, new couples who plan on building a life together need to create a budget together. Generally newly married couples have long term goals including buying a home, starting a family and retirement. Only by laying out your new total household income and comparing it with monthly expenses and existing debt can the two of you get a complete overview of your finances. Plus, this is a great team building activity which will help you work on your communication skills and working towards a common goal.
While working on the budget, allocating for an emergency savings reserve will go along way. An expensive ticket for going through a red light, a loss of a job, or a visit to a doctor, all require a financial cushion.
Since the current trend is that both partners contribute to the household budget with their paycheck, no one person should have full control of the finances. As a courtesy, even though the wife may handle the day-to-day finances, she should work out monetary compromises and both of them need to have access to their online banking accounts. Once a week, Jane should provide the husband with a financial status update so they are both on the same page.
As your relationship grows and flourishes, so will your finances and your need for further communication. By taking the steps in the very beginning not to have any financial secrets, develop a plan of action and to save aggressively for whatever the future holds, you will be taking important steps to eliminate the leading cause of undue stress and the ultimate demise of American marriages.