There’s an old Wizard of Id comic strip in which a wife asks her husband about how in their marital vows, she was promised “through thick and thin”. “When is thick?”, she asks him. If there is any kind of advice for newlyweds that they most often can use, it would have to be financial advice.
Which might seem a bit curious. Why do we need special advice for newlyweds? Do they have the same money problems as anyone else? The thing is, while people may have money problems of their own, they usually just have themselves to blame for anything that goes wrong.
When people get married and they begin to merge their finances, there are new problems that they aren’t used to dealing with anymore. Often, one spouse just does things with money that the other spouse has no idea about. The following words of advice for newlyweds should be a reminder of how important cooperation is in marriages.
Of course, it will be difficult reconciling your style of managing money with your spouse’s at first. But the most important thing to do to make sure that you set your marriage down the right path would be to start talking about money. In fact, as the relationship advice columns tell you, it’s best to talk about this even before you get married.
In these conversations, you have to talk about the financial goals the two of you have, discuss when you would like to buy a house, how many children you would like to send to college, how much debt you have to manage and when you would like to buy a house. You need to lay bare who has what saved, debt, credit cards, bank accounts –everything.
You often hear these things about how each spouse tries to keep a secret bank account right through the marriage. It’s an account they’ve had right from before they got married and they’ve never told their spouse about it. Of course, when a person discovers that his husband or wife has a secret account, it can be very hurtful. Put those special needs apart, and make sure that you share all your banking information. To have only one account for the marriage can be a very sweet thing. It can especially be beautiful if one spouse earns much less than the other. They won’t have to be aware of that old time.
Still, there’s something to be said for the sense of independence a separate account can bring. And one should keep in mind that a divorce is always possible. It could also be wise in marriages to be aware that there is the possibility that one spouse could just withdraw all the money and go have an affair. You do need to talk about all of this even if it is unpleasant.
Designing a budget and keeping to it will have to be your number one financial goal in marriage. While a budget is completely important for single people without a doubt, its importance only multiplies in a marriage where there are two people heading off in different directions with money. Make sure that you design a budget –a conservative budget. And keep in mind how you have all the goals to meet that you’ve discussed. And then make sure that you keep to it.