Did you know that money is the number one thing married couples fight over? According to a survey by Ramsey Solutions of over 1,000 U.S. adults showed that they had an average of $30,000 in consumer debt. Of those that have consumer debt, 41% argue about money.
Money is an integral part of the marriage which needs to be dealt with early enough to avoid divorce cases. In the survey, it shows that the younger generation is into more debt which is a cause for alarm. Now, more than ever, there’s a need to streamline your financial issues as a married couple.
So how do you approach your money issues for the better?
- Be Open About Finances
You should have talked about finances before getting married. However, if you haven’t, it is never too late. Discuss with your spouse and get to know their financial position. Go over the accounts and know how much debt each of you carries. It could be mortgage, car loans or credit card debt.
Before moving on, it is essential to know where each of you stands. It will help you know how to move forward as a couple and how you will handle your money issues.
- What are Your Goals?
As a couple, everybody has their plans before getting into marriage. Now that you are one, it’s important to consolidate those plans. When do you plan to retire? What investments do you plan to pursue?
It goes a long way to know where each one of you stands so that you can plan together. Identify your short and long-term financial goals and get a plan on how to implement them.
Children should also be in the picture. How do you plan to save for your children’s college fund? You need to be on the same page so that you can start moving forward and acting on the goals.
- Consider a Joint Savings Account
Well, this is a personal decision for you. However, it’s crucial to consider opening a joint saving account with your spouse so that you can both have access to it.
Sometimes, you can open two accounts: one for emergency savings and the other for family savings. This way, you can put the emergency savings one in such a way that either of you can access it. The other one could be in a way that it needs both your signatures to maintain the financial discipline of not overspending.
Emergency funds are a must-have as they help in times of crisis. For example, in the case either of you lost their job or source of income, your emergency savings will help as you figure out how to tackle the issue.
In most cases, you should have emergency savings of not less than three months’ worth of your monthly expenses. Take, for instance, if monthly expenses total to $2,000, you should have $6,000 or more tucked away somewhere safe.
- Make a Budget
Budgeting is one of the ways to ensure that as a couple, you don’t spend money on unnecessary stuff. Note down all the expenses involved on a monthly basis. Consider the utility bills, shopping, credit card debt and so on.
Monitor the last few months to determine your spending habits. When budgeting, you will be surprised that there are things you don’t need. The budget aims at cutting down on the luxuries.
Eating out is not an issue but making it a routine of four days in a week could be hurting your pockets. Narrow it down to once or twice a week and see how much you save.
Making the budget is only the first step; the other is sticking to it. It calls for discipline to do so. If the car loan needs to be paid, then it has to be one of the high priority debts. These are just basics that need to be put into consideration when budgeting.
- Getting Out of Debt
Debt is such a heavy topic to talk about; we all have debt at some point. As a married couple, you need to get a plan on how to pay them. Whether it is a student loan or car loan, they have to be paid.
Start your marriage by eliminating debt rather than accumulating it. Prioritize on the debts and see what needs to be paid first. Work towards being debt-free as it keeps your marriage healthy with fewer money arguments.
Talk to people who have been in debt before and see how they managed to save themselves.
Marriage is an exciting phase in life where you get to start a family with somebody. The above tips are to help you navigate through. Take advantage of the information and make the necessary steps to live a fulfilling married life with your spouse.
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