Whether you’re newlyweds or have been married for decades, having financial goals is essential for success. Couple goals allow you to work together, ensuring you’re on the same page about the future. That can work wonders in a marriage, allowing you to avoid obstacles or disagreements that could harm your relationship. Plus, couple financial goals are reasonably easy to set up. Here’s a look at 12 couple goals for financial success.
1. Embrace Optimism
While this is technically a goal for setting and following through with financial goals, it’s a wise one to have regardless. Many couples have a tendency to talk about financial targets in a negative way. For example, they may say that they’ll “never” be able to achieve a target because they feel they don’t make enough money.
Generally, that view applies a pessimistic tone to any further conversations. In turn, many couples may start believing that their financial goals aren’t achievable, causing them to never try. That can lead to significant disappointment as time passes, potentially to the point of harming your relationship.
Instead, embrace a sense of optimism. While reaching a financial goal may take time (potentially a lot of time), nearly any target is reachable. For example, if you want to save up a down payment on a house but don’t have much money to put into savings, start anyway. Even $20 per month will get you heading in that direction and makes saving for that goal a habit. Plus, if your financial situation improves over time, you can send more.
Don’t assume that you can’t achieve a goal because you have to start small. Instead, embrace those little steps forward with a smile, as they still put you on the path toward success.
2. Set Up a Budget
Your budget gives you a financial framework to follow, ensuring you handle all of your needs, don’t overdo it on wants, and save for the future. Sit down with your partner and go over all of your obligations. Then, have a conversation about saving and spending, setting clear parameters that can guide your allocations and decisions.
Additionally, have monthly budget dates. Talk about what went right and wrong each month. Discuss potential improvements and make needed changes. That keeps your budget on target while also getting you both comfortable with discussing your financial lives.
3. Build an Emergency Fund
No matter your age, emergencies will come up. Unexpected medical expenses, a vehicle breaking down, a major appliance failing, an unplanned need to move, sudden unemployment… they’re all possibilities.
Since that’s the case, having a robust emergency fund is essential. If you’re starting with nothing set aside, begin with a small target. One easy savings goal that can serve as a great beginning is setting aside enough to cover your home, rental, and vehicle deductibles. Once you have that, aim for three months of living expenses. Finally, try to get six months set aside.
By using that approach, the goal feels more manageable. Plus, you’ll have a safety net, giving you protection against the unexpected.
4. Create a Career Roadmap
Whether one or both members of a couple works, creating career roadmaps can put you on the path toward financial success. The amount of income you bring in makes a difference. By knowing where you want your career to go and what it takes to get there, you can plan for advancement.
Consider the roles you’d like to land, including whether you’d like to stay the current course or make a change in the future. Next, outline what it will take to get you from where you are to where you’d like to be, identifying all of the key needs – like more education, training, certifications, or experience – and any associated costs.
This process can give you new savings targets, allowing you to plan to cover those needs along the way. Plus, it lets you and your partner to coordinate your progression, ensuring you each get access to what you need and achieve career satisfaction.
5. Get Your Life Insurance in Order
Younger couples might not think that they need to worry about life insurance. However, by getting a policy as soon as possible, it’s often easier to secure coverage at a lower rate. As a result, your monthly payment will fit into your budget with greater ease.
If you have life insurance options through an employer, review them to see if they can meet your needs. Then, you can use a payroll deduction to cover the cost, simplifying the payment part of the equation. If it isn’t a good fit, however, you can explore options from other companies to find a match.
6. Save for Retirement
Another financial goal that’s best to start working toward as soon as possible is a secure retirement. Precisely what you’ll need to do depends on your age, current retirement savings, and vision for the future.
Speak with your spouse about your ideal retirement lifestyle. Use that to identify an appropriate savings target. Then, work to set aside enough to hit that number. If necessary, speak with a financial planner to get more insights regarding investment allocations to ensure you’ll have enough to have the retirement you envisioned.
7. Set Up a Will (and Update It Regularly)
A will gives you control over what happens to your assets if you pass away. Additionally, it can help your loved ones avoid some of the complications of passing without a will, such as probate.
It’s also critical to update your will regularly. Whenever there’s a major life event, such as a birth or the addition of new assets, make the needed changes. You may also want to look into living trusts, as those can prove valuable in case of death, incapacitation, or disability.
8. Ditch Your High-Interest Debt
While tackling any debts is wise, focusing on your high-interest debt first gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Credit cards typically fall in this category, as double-digit interest rates are common. Some personal loans may also be high-interest, which could make them a good target.
After you handle your high-interest debt, you can always consider putting extra money toward lower-interest ones, like vehicles, mortgages, or student loans. However, if doing so may push you to use credit cards again, it’s best to keep those payments going as is and have enough room in your budget to avoid high-interest debt.
9. Set Money Aside for Children’s College
Whether you currently have children or plan to in the future, setting money aside for college can help secure their financial future. That can remove a significant amount of stress, all while ensuring they’ll get a strong start without accruing too much debt.
Starting a 529 plan is usually the best option. The process is simple for any children you have currently, as long as they have a Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. However, you can set one up even if you don’t have children yet. You can list yourself as the beneficiary initially. Then, when the child is born, and you have the required identification number, you can update the 529 plan to list them as the beneficiary.
10. Start Saving for Anniversary Celebrations
If celebrating an anniversary is important to you both, make setting money aside for those occasions a financial goal. Determine what you’d like to do, how much it will cost, and how much you’ll need to set aside every month to make it happen. Along with the fun of planning the event, you’re using a financially responsible approach, ensuring you can celebrate without debt.
11. Pay Off Your House Before Retiring
For homeowners, paying off the mortgage before you retire can make a comfortable retirement easier to attain. You’ll only have to worry about property taxes and maintenance expenses, ultimately freeing up a lot of room in your budget.
Since retirees usually have smaller budgets, this can make a big difference. Plus, it may make saving for retirement easier, as you won’t need as much in savings to live comfortably.
12. Get the Right Professional Support
If managing your combined finances is overwhelming, then you may want to work with a professional. A certified accountant, financial planner, or financial counselor could be a great fit, depending on your unique needs.
Remember, it’s okay if you require a bit of help. Financial professionals have the needed expertise, so they’re a great asset if you aren’t sure about how to get on track.
Can you think of any other couple goals that can propel newlyweds toward financial success? Have you set goals similar to the ones above and want to tell others about your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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