Money can be a contentious issue for couples. In fact, disagreements about finances are often cited as a reason for a divorce. Luckily, it is possible to avoid the kind of issues that may cause your marriage to end. If you want to achieve financial stability in your marriage, here are seven tips that can help you do just that.
1. Get on the Same Page
Before you worry about steps like budgeting and saving, it’s crucial that you and your partner get on the same page when it comes to your household’s finances. You want to discuss everything, including how much debt you’re each bringing into the marriage, your short- and long-term financial goals, and your saving and spending priorities.
Open and honest communication about money early in the relationship can be a difference-maker. It allows you to understand each other on a deeper level and create a lasting plan that serves both of your needs. This can help you avoid disagreements in the future, as you will both know where the other stands and can make financial choices that respect their needs as well as your own.
2. Create a Budget
Having a budget is the foundation for financial stability in your marriage. It creates a framework for tracking your obligations and allocating your income to various expenses or goals.
Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to determine precisely how you want to handle the costs of running a household. For some couples, they may prefer that all income goes into a single account, and that’s how bills are paid. For others, they may separate income a bit, assigning specific costs or cost percentages to each spouse.
With a budget, you get to define some hard numbers. This supports greater accountability while also simplifying your household finances. You’ll know exactly where each dollar needs to go and can often automate a significant portion of your financial life, ensuring you don’t miss payments or forget to save.
3. Build an Emergency Fund for Financial Stability In Your Marriage
An emergency fund is a powerful tool. It can give you a chance to sidestep financial hardship by ensuring you always have some money set aside to handle the unexpected. That way, when an emergency occurs, you’ve got the cash to take care of it, reducing the stress created by the incident.
Ideally, you want to start off by getting at least $1,000 in a liquid savings account. This can cover costs like unexpected car repairs, insurance deductibles, and more.
After that, working your way up to three to six months of living expenses is a good move. With that, you can buffer against periods of unemployment that you may not have anticipated.
Another way is also investing in tools that help you save automatically like these three on the table below.
|App||Fees and Minimum||Best for:|
|Digit||30-day free trial period. $5 per month ||Setting aside automatically. |
|Acorns||$1 per month||Spare change saving.|
|Qapital||$3 membership||Letting you set rules to automate savings.|
4. Review Your Insurance Needs
Insurance often protects you during times of crisis. Once you’re married, it’s wise to review your insurance needs, ensuring you have the right policies in place.
For example, if you don’t have life insurance, now may be the time to sign up. This is especially true if the death of either spouse would cause a significant financial hardship on the other.
It’s also smart to take a look at your health insurance plans. If you both work, you may be better off getting on a single policy together. Employer-provided coverage options can vary dramatically, both in coverage levels and affordability. Consider your healthcare needs and see if changing your approach would be wise.
You can also examine other kinds of insurance to see if you should make adjustments. You may want to explore short-term disability insurance, for example. Take a look at your financial situation and explore how certain kinds of events can impact your lives. Then, if there’s a type of insurance that can protect you, see if adding it makes financial sense.
5. Take a Look at Retirement Savings
Even if you’re a young couple, you need to be saving for retirement. By getting started as early as possible, the magic of compound interest can work for you.
Plus, if you’re newlyweds, you may want to alter how you’re saving for retirement. Depending on your joint goals, you might want to set more aside. Additionally, if your combined income gives you room in your budget, maxing out your retirement savings each year might be possible now, even if it wasn’t before.
6. Tackle Some Estate Planning
State laws regarding what happens after a person passes vary dramatically. It’s best not to leave anything to chance, particularly if you want to safeguard the financial future of your spouse.
While it can be difficult, spend some time on estate planning. Decide what will happen to various assets if one or both of you pass away, and get formal documentation in place to ensure that plan will happen as you envision it.
If necessary, also make sure to update the beneficiary information on any policies either of you had prior to the marriage. That way, if you want the benefits to go to your spouse, you can make sure that will happen without any undue delay.
7. Schedule Regular Check-ins
Even if your initial financial plan is strong, things can change over time. Your goals and priorities may shift, for example, or you may have an alternation to your household income that needs addressing.
Ideally, you want to schedule regular financial check-ins with your spouse. This could be getting together over coffee once or twice a year, or even quarterly.
During that talk, revisit your saving goals and take a look at your progress. You can also discuss upcoming major expenses, including anything from home repairs to how much you want to spend on holiday shopping.
By talking about money consistently, it becomes a norm. This increases both of your comfort levels while also guaranteeing you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts regularly, allowing you to get on and stay on the same page.
What tips do you use to achieve financial stability in your marriage? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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