Money Tips For Newlyweds
Start your marriage off right with this valuable financial advice for newlyweds.
I had barely turned 21 when Forrest and I got married.
At the time, I thought I knew just about everything…but looking back, I realize how young I really was.
I mean, at the age of 27, I’m still quite young – but I’ve definitely grown a lot since then.
I sometimes will look at 21-year-olds, and I think “Did I really seem that little?”
For the first few years of our marriage, we really struggled financially. We were in college, working low paying jobs, and, about a year into our marriage, welcomed a little bundle of joy.
And despite how much of a joy Jack was, it certainly didn’t make our financial situation any easier.
I wouldn’t trade those days for anything – we really learned so much when money was tight.
Fortunately for us, despite having tight times, money hasn’t been a huge source of conflict – even in those first few years figuring out newlywed finances. I feel that some of that has come from both of us coming from financially-smart families – and our own desire to stay out of debt and save as much as possible.
However, I know that we aren’t necessarily in the majority with those feelings. I think that the best newlywed advice people can get is on finances. Here are a few interesting facts:
- 75% of Americans who are currently in, or have ever been in, a committed relationship feel that setting financial
goals with a partner is more difficult than setting goals as an individual. Despite this, 63% prefer to manage finances with a partner.
- More than two-thirds 67% of those currently in a relationship admit that they don’t manage their expenses equally with their partner.
- Nearly 60% (59%) of respondents agree that the hardest part about discussing money and finances with a partner is initiating the conversation. This percentage jumps to almost three-quarters (71%) among those in newer relationships.
- Two-thirds (66%) of people feel confident that they share the same financial priorities as their partner, more than three quarters (82%) of couples are still getting into arguments at least some of the time when discussing money.
According to a 2017 local market survey fielded by Wakefield Research on
behalf of Capital One Money Advice for Newlyweds
Thank you to Capitol One for partnering with us on this post!
Money Managing Tips for Newlyweds
Be Open and Honest
Multiple studies have been done on whether or not couples discuss finances and money before they tie the knot. While each study has come out with slightly different figures, on average, about 45% of couples report talking about money before marriage.
What?! I feel like that is crazy. While money certainly isn’t everything, it can be a huge stressor…and I can’t imagine going into a marriage not knowing my spouse-to-be’s financial situation.
I think the most important thing is to be open and honest – even about the negative things ($3000 in credit card debt for an impromptu trip to Europe…yes, that’s important to mention!).
Talking about money can be uncomfortable for many people – I feel like our culture has ingrained in our minds that money shouldn’t be talked about. However, as uncomfortable as it is, it’s so important. Just be honest – that’s the first step!
Get Rid of Debt
“Bringing debt into your marriage may make for an unhappier union. A 2005 study looked at survey data gathered from 1,010 randomly sampled newlywed couples and found that starting a marriage with consumer debt has a “negative impact on newlywed levels of marital quality.” Not surprisingly, those with the “highest amounts of debt (e.g., $20,000 – 50,000) had the lowest marital satisfaction and adjustment scores of all participants.”” – Source
I’m a big fan of staying completely out of debt. I think that getting married when you have a lot of debt can make things tricky – but it’s important to discuss those debts and a plan to get out of them.
Be open and honest with your spouse about any debts you are bringing into a marriage. Meet with a debt counselor if you have to. But find a way to live with and manage those debts – while avoiding any other unnecessary debts.
That might mean having a less lavish wedding (there are so many ways to plan a wedding on a budget), living in a smaller apartment for awhile, or living off of ramen and tuna fish while you get through college (okay, let’s not go that far – here are some yummy and inexpensive easy recipes for college students).
Come up with a Budget
Okay, real talk. I really struggle with having a strict budget. I’ve created budget spreadsheets in the past …but I just always forget about updating them!
I do try and monitor our spending throughout the month and keep certain categories to a certain amount. And it really does work for us. One thing that we do that I feel is a bit more flexible is that I’ve determined the average amount we spend each month, I keep that much in our bank account, and then I put the rest that we made from the month previous into our savings account. Then, we just keep our spending within the amount left over. This really is the simplest way to build your savings.
I would recommend coming up with a rough budget – even if it’s not on paper. I know a lot of people have success with the envelope method (where you put cash into an envelope for each category, and when it’s gone…it’s gone!) But just find something that works for both of you – and make sure it’s realistic. I think that no matter what your financial situation is, you have to keep some room for flexibility.
Look at numbers together
This goes along with having a budget. But I think it’s important to review numbers on a regular basis.
Even if one person is more or less “in charge” of the finances in your relationship, it’s important to both be on the same page. Going through you bank statement or receipts each month can get a little scary, but it is good for both members of your relationship to know where money is going. Even more important is to discuss together how to adapt and change things.
There should be no secrets – I’ve read statistics that show many people hide certain financial information from their spouse, and I think that’s really sad. As I mentioned earlier – be honest. If you adopt that philosophy early on in your marriage, it will make a world of difference.
Take a class money management class
I’m a big fan of personal development workshops and classes. They are especially helpful for people who have never really managed their money or finances in the past. I think everyone should take one.
I’m really excited to be partnering with Capital One to promote their new Money Coaching and Money Workshops – specifically geared to helping couples navigate the often times sticky world of finances.
They have classes for every stage of life – whether you are just starting to have financial conversations, planning for the future or a big milestone (such as going to college, buying a house, having a baby, etc.), or just looking to improve your relationship with money, they have something for everyone.
They realize that there is no one size fits all approach to money, and they are working toward helping people identify their priorities and goals at any stage of life. Here are some more details on what they offer:
- Money Coaching – a three session program – completely complimentary designed to help a person or couple determine their values to money, get their spending under control, and come up with a plan for future financial goals.
- Money Workshops – these are 1-2 hours long (complimentary as well) and are offered at Capital One Cafes across the country. Some of the topics they will be focusing on include “Talking Money With Your Honey” and “Your Money. Your Values.”
Not going to lie – I really want to take some of these! While I feel we are pretty money savvy, I think some of these topics (such as the one on retirement) could be extremely helpful – especially since we are self-employed.
For those in the Denver area, Forrest and I will be joining Capital One on Wednesday, October 4th at the Capital One Café to kick off their upcoming Money & Relationships workshops with a fun, live game called “Money Matched,” which will test couples on how well they know (or don’t know) each other’s money values. Visit Capital One for more information on the event or learn how to sign up for a workshop.
Live on one income
Not everyone has a goal to stay home with their kids someday – and that’s up to you and your spouse!
Whether or not that is a priority, I think it’s smart to try and live on one income, even if both of you are working. I have quite a few family members and friends who make it a goal to put away the entire paycheck of one spouse into savings while they could. For many of these people, it made the transition to being an actual one income family even easier. Plus, it really can help bolster up your savings account!
Talk with a professional
I think it’s always worth it to discuss finances with a professional – a CPA/Accountant, a Money Coach (like the ones I mentioned above from Capital One), etc. They can help you come up with goals, plan for retirement, and help you save on your taxes.
We are pretty lucky because my dad is a tax accountant, so he helps us a lot (especially with navigating the crazy world of being self-employed). But I know that not everyone is that lucky – so make sure you seek out help before you need it!
I’m always surprised when I hear about people who have no financial goals and just live month to month.
No matter what your financial situation, goals are important. You won’t progress without them. It can be as simple as looking at your credit score and figuring out a way to bring your score up a few points.
Setting long and short term financial goals together can make a big difference in how you both feel about money. You can work toward them together. I really believe that when you both have a common goal and mindset, it makes life a little bit easier.
Decide how to set up your accounts
This can be a touchy subject – and you’ll get all sorts of opinions on it. But I think it’s important to know from the get-go how you are going to set up your bank accounts.
For us, we felt we should have a joint bank account. Neither of us have ever had a reason to feel like we need to keep finances separate (except for those times when we are trying to buy Christmas presents, and the other person sees it show up on the bank statement. Oops!). I feel that it helps with transparency, and when there are two eyes checking it, we are able to avoid disagreements and surprises.
Definitely weigh the pros and cons. Even if you do have separate bank accounts, keep in mind that you should still discuss things openly and honesty. Having your own bank account doesn’t mean you should live separate financial lives!
Set minimum amounts
Do you need to tell your spouse every time you buy a pair of shoes or stop for fast food? Well, that’s going to depend on the couple!
I know many people come up with a set amount that they are each allowed to spend a month without having to run it past the other person. Each person can have something like $100 that they can spend on whatever they want – and this can help people feel a little less claustrophobic when it comes to finances.
Update Beneficiaries, Create a will, etc.
It’s important to have a will set up once you get married, especially when it comes to finances. You want to make sure your spouse (and children, if you have them) are protected and will receive the money you want them to. Talk with a lawyer about the best way to set this up. I also recommend looking into life insurance – it can be an annoying monthly fee, but it can really make a huge difference if the worst were to happen.
Getting married brings a lot of new adjustments and changes – but it doesn’t have to be bad or scary. By implementing some of the advice above, I really do believe you will be setting yourself up for a financially secure and happy marriage.
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