Financial Planning Central to a Happy Marriage

by Erika Torres
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Marriage is always a challenge but for those in a strong relationship it is a challenge that can be met comfortably as long as both parties follow a few simple rules. That doesn’t mean that both have not also got a few lessons to learn about their new found status. The single life is over and it is important that decisions about everything are taken jointly. That certainly applies when it comes to finances. Before the wedding there should have been plenty of planning for the future based upon careers and the home.

In some cases young couples that have not long finished college have debts that they need to clear at the same time as they are setting up home together. It is important to decide on a plan to do both without going into a level of debt that will certainly put strain on the marriage itself. Most newlyweds will want to have children but they should be planned as well. Finance may be a barrier to that in the early days. If there are debts to clear and careers to establish children may have to wait.

Finance is probably the first thing a couple should discuss so both partners have a clear idea of the income they will have and the likely monthly expenditure as well. They may decide upon a consolidation loan to clear college debt; perhaps credit card balances after an expensive wedding and honeymoon. It is essential to remember that a consolidation loan while clearing balances is likely to be over a significant term.

It may be time to cut back on fashion labels. Everyone wants to look their best. Friends are not forgotten just because of a wedding and it is important to retain a good social life. It is also important to identify how much money the budget allows for that social life and the latest fashions. If newlyweds set themselves a target to save for a deposit on their first apartment then that money should be set aside without fail.

Couples may have a totally different view on money and material things. It makes it even more vital that everything relating to mutual finance is clearly understood by both parties. Everything must be out in the open; no hidden caches of money or assets.

Ideally newlyweds will be able to agree on the next few years, where they are now and where they hope to be then. Things can change of course and it will be important to regularly review finances if things are not going to plan. If a consolidation loan was an early action to get past history sorted out the end of such a loan will obviously provide more finance if both partners are working. Children may change that but that may be part of the plan in the early days of marriage.

It should be about taking joint responsibility for the household and its expenses. It should never be a case of ‘I leave it all to my wife’; that could certainly build up resentment if something goes wrong.

Real estate is the best investment newlyweds can make but it must be something that is affordable. There has been a slump in recent years and the lessons of that need to be learnt by everyone. Interest rates are at an historical low and so if buying as opposed to renting is a possibility it should be examined very closely. There are real estate bargains to be had but buyers must be aware of the reasons why they are bargains. If it is because there is unlikely to be much growth then it may be best to look elsewhere.  There is plenty of advice around both from financial experts and often family members with more experience in financial matters.

It is all a matter of putting together a clear financial picture and making decisions with that in mind. A young couple that puts unnecessary strain on their relationship because of money may find their relationship breaking down. If they talk and agree, and make sensible financial decisions then the marriage is certain to overcome one of the possible sources for disagreement. In later years they should be able to look back at those early days and smile, hopefully surrounded by a loving family in a nice house.


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