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Financial Literacy - Feature Article

Financial Advice for Newlyweds - StageofLife.com5 Financial Tips for Newlyweds

by Lauren Podolsky, Financial Wellness & Literacy Editor

There are many wonderful rewards that result from the sanctity of marriage, but with the romance also comes a few challenges – one of them being shared financial decisions.  Even if you have decided to keep your bank accounts separate, sharing life with another person guarantees that some money choices will need to be made as a team. Who will take responsibility for the bills?  Will you combine everything?  Some things?  Nothing?  All questions that need to be discussed or should be before saying, “I do.”

While a perfect financial marriage is more of a pretense, there are a few things any couple can do to hopefully avoid a fiscal marriage meltdown.

1.  Talk about it beforehand –

The engagement period is not only an ideal time to plan the wedding, but also significant aspects of a newly joint life together – one of them being your finances. Money can be an awkward topic -it’s personal and the opposite of lovey-dovey. But don’t put aside the talk.  Set aside a few hours to sit down with a pen and paper, bank statements, and a plan for a combined budget.

2. Don’t Hold Back –

Be prepared to share everything.  After all, you are about to vow your undying love to your partner so keeping any financial skeletons in the closest is not a good way to begin your new life.  Are you in debt?  What is your credit score?  Are you known for bouncing checks?  Whatever the issues may be, it’s vital to share these things with your spouse.   These points will eventually come out so there is no point in keeping them a secret.

3. Divide Accordingly –

There is no law that says you have to combine all of your assets into one shared account.  While there is nothing wrong with sharing a bank account, for many couples, keeping some aspects of money separate is a good thing.  It ensures some sense of financial independence for both people.  With that being said, many couples choose to open a shared checking account together in order to pay bills, rent or for other expenses.  No matter what you decide as a couple, make sure it is the best approach for the both of you and your lifestyle.  Divide the expenses in a way that is fair and realistic.

4.  Start Thinking About a Long-Term Savings Plan –

In the beginning, the road to a lifelong marriage seems promising and full of hope.  Not to discredit that optimism, but it’s easy to become a little jaded by the emotions of love, especially in the beginning.  Putting aside money is a necessity.  Now that you have another person in your life, the changes for an emergency double.  At the very least, create an emergency fund – with the goal of saving at least three month’s worth of expenses if not more.  From there, long-term savings accounts, retirement funds, and 401K’s are all words that need to be addressed.  Just because life is full of love now, doesn’t mean a secure financial future is a guarantee. You need to plan for your future together, especially financially.

5. Get Rid of Debts –

Starting a marriage debt free is ideal but probably unrealistic.  You might have debt from school loans, credit cards, or even from the wedding.  And now that two people are in the picture, your combine debt may be more significant than if you were on your own.  Start tackling your debt the best you can.  Maybe it’s combining credit card debt into one consolidated account and making monthly payments until you can get it paid off.  Pay off the highest balance first and the ones with the highest interest rate.  Devise a plan for short-term debt, such as cutting back on expenses or taking a part-time job.  The less debt you have to worry about as a couple, the more stress free you both will be.

Many couples will tell you that money is the number one cause of marital demise.  If you want wedding bliss, it’s so important that both you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your finances.  This advice may sound simple, but sometimes following through can be more complicated than you think.  Stick to these rules and you’ll be much more prepared to take on your new (and wonderful) life together as two.

If you have other tips we should add to this list, or any questions or comments, please Contact Us

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Lauren Podolsky - Financial LiteracyAbout Lauren Podolsky: With over 10 years as a blogger and Financial Literacy adviser, Lauren lends her money tips and financial Q&A insights here on Stage of Life each and every month. For more healthy tips, recipes and advice, check out Lauren's personal site at where she shares her love of food, staying fit and living a healthy and balanced life.

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