Getting married is an exciting experience, no doubt. That’s probably why after the bridal showers and wedding receptions, finances are one of the last things you’re likely to think about., Quite like changing the oil in your car, managing finances can be tricky – so here are six financial tips for newlyweds just getting started.
Six Financial Tips for Newlyweds
Lay it out…TRUST is key
If you just got married (or better yet, you’re about to), then there’s a fair chance that you two probably know each other. The foundation of every good marriage is trust, so if you haven’t already, lay it all out there now … financially speaking.
Sit down at the table and let your spouse know everything he or she needs to know about your financial situation. We’re talking debt, trusts, student loans…the whole nine yards.
Find a good chunk in the day (2-3 hours) during which you both can focus on the matter at hand. Pull up a computer and start typing in what assets you have and what your debts are. Get it all out there and save it.
Prioritize your financial obstacles
Once you’ve put everything on the table, start prioritizing your financial opponents. What are financial opponents, you ask? These are the things that are going to hold you back from achieving your financial goals.
Good examples are student debt, credit card debt, vehicle debt, mortgage debt…yeah, you probably guessed it by now: DEBT. Figure out what all of your debts are and list them out by order of importance.
While there isn’t a cookie-cutter method for prioritizing what debts to pay off first, most folks look to Dave Ramsey’s “Snowball Method” for doing so. Basically, take your smallest debt and pay it off first, and then move down your list.
Make it a habit – sit down and talk it out
Like most things, it’s easy to get out of the gate strong, then fall out of habit (new year resolutions, anyone?)
Don’t let this happen with you and your spouse. Make it a habit to sit down and talk about your finances at least once a month. As a new couple, you could be spending a lot of money, so it’s impossible to underestimate the importance of understanding regular, open discussions.
Keeping up with the Joneses is so 50s
Yes, your neighbor’s brand new 72” TV is pretty darn nice to watch Game of Thrones, but don’t go and order a 74” just to one-up them. Sure, your friend from work might be really happy about her spiffy BMW, but don’t use that as an excuse to stop contributing to your 401k so can afford Mercedes lease payments.
Although it is extremely tempting to get into this kind of a mentality as both young professionals and newlyweds, AVOID it! Spending money for the sole purpose of one-upping your peers is what’s going to destroy your bank account.
Beneficiaries: update ‘em!
If you have a 401k, trust, or any other financial asset that has a beneficiary, make sure to update it. While it’s important for first-time couples to update their beneficiary, it’s REALLY important if you’ve had a previous marriage to do so.
For example, if you’ve been married before and originally listed your previous spouse as a beneficiary on investment accounts or life insurance, make sure you update those ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll be leaving behind a pretty unhappy spouse and a very happy ex…typically not ideal.
Not exactly the most fun topic to talk about, but it certainly is one of the more important ones to consider.
Start planning your financial freedom ASAP!
You’ve probably heard this all over the place: the earlier you start planning for retirement, the better.
That statement couldn’t be more true. And it’s all because of one important concept: compound interest. Essentially, money can grow quicker than you might think as long as it’s invested correctly – the biggest variable is time. As time passes, the value you initially put in will continue to grow. If you start early, then your money has more time to grow in value.
While it is possible to hire a financial adviser, most usually have high minimum asset requirements. That is to say, they wouldn’t take you on as a client unless you have a substantial amount of money to invest: think $500,000 or higher.
A better alternative could be a robo-advisor – a new type of financial advising service that uses technology to manage your money at an affordable cost. Blooom is one such example. All you need to do is link your 401k/403b information and blooom will help grow your account for $10 a month.
At the end of the day, getting married will always be a unique experience that needs to be remembered. Getting your finances is covered might not seem that important, but trust us, it is.