Best Advice To A First Time Wife On Marital Finances

by Tamila McDonald
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first time wife

 

Whether you’re about to get married or have recently tied the knot, your marital finances may not be on your mind. However, knowing how to handle this aspect of a marriage is essential. Money conflicts are a commonly cited reason for divorce, so taking the right actions is a must if you want to keep your relationship strong. With that in mind, here is some of the best marital finance advice for a first time wife.

Have Open, Honest Conversations

Having open, honest conversations with your partner about money gives you a stronger foundation. It allows you to jointly identify goals and priorities, as well as make plans to keep your household budget under control.

Spend time discussing your incomes, debts, and future priorities. Outline how expenses will get handled, as well as the steps you’ll take to work toward shared and individual goals. By doing so, you can create a framework together, ensuring everyone’s needs are covered and that any savings targets are adequately accounted for as soon as possible.

Don’t Take a Back Seat

In some cases, couples make an initial plan, and then one spouse takes over most of the financial aspects of the relationship. While this may seem like it streamlines this aspect of running a household, it’s a risky move. Without being involved, changes may occur that you aren’t aware of until a significant amount of time has passed, which isn’t ideal.

Even if your partner will handle most of the day-to-day aspects of your finances, don’t take a back seat. Instead, arrange for monthly check-ins where you review your finances together, check your progress toward goals, and determine if any adjustments are needed based on your shifting financial situation or changing priorities.

By doing this every month, it ensures that nothing is occurring you aren’t aware of, allowing you to stay informed. Plus, it creates opportunities to discuss money regularly, which can make it a more comfortable topic moving forward.

Avoid Taking It All On

Depending on your relationship, there’s a chance you’ll become the spouse who mainly keeps track of the finances. While this could seem like an excellent arrangement, as you have the most insights about what’s occurring, it could also cause your partner to end up in the dark. If that happens, they may be upset by actions or changes you make, even if they seem small to you, and that’s not ideal.

While it’s fine if you handle the everyday aspects of your household’s finances, make sure your partner is well-informed. Along with scheduling monthly meetings, let them know if any chances seem necessary and get their input before moving forward with adjustments. That ensures that all decisions are joint, which can help ensure your spouse isn’t caught off guard by a necessary change.

Don’t Rely Solely on Your Partner’s Retirement

At times, married couples focus most of their energy on one retirement plan, mainly assuming that they’ll use it together. While that can certainly happen, there’s always a chance that things will work out differently.

While splitting a retirement plan during a divorce is possible, it can be cumbersome. By opting to contribute similar amounts to retirement plans for each of you, you might be able to avoid a financial headache if you do choose to dissolve the marriage.

Additionally, every retirement plan has benefits and drawbacks. By remaining open to options available to each of you, you may be able to capture some perks that you’d miss out on otherwise.

Combine Your Finances Strategically

In most cases, getting married involves combining your finances, at least to a degree. However, there are multiple approaches that couples can use, each of which can be beneficial in different situations.

Discuss your joint finances with your partner. Then, determine how integrated your finances should become. In some cases, combining everything could be wise. However, some couples do better with a degree of division. For instance, they may want to have a joint account they both contribute to for shared expenses and individual accounts for discretionary spending or handling debts they accrued before the marriage.

The arrangement that works best for you may vary. As a result, couples should work together to find an option that feels like a solid fit.

Consider a Prenup If You’re A First Time Wife

While talking about a prenup isn’t always the most pleasant conversation, if either partner has notable assets prior to getting married, it could be wise. It allows you both to protect what you’ve worked for. Thus, ensuring you aren’t in a poor position if a divorce occurs later.

Whether you need a prenup will depend on the assets you’re each bringing into the relationship. Take stock of what you have and ask your partner to do the same. Then, you can figure out if a prenup makes sense in your situation.

Have an Emergency Fund

As a first time wife, few situations are as stressful as unexpected financial hardship. It can put a lot of strain on a relationship. This is particularly if you don’t agree on how to financially handle it when the situation occurs.

Fortunately, you can overcome this issue by creating a solid emergency fund together. Start off small, aiming for enough money to cover emergencies like vehicle repairs or insurance deductibles. Then, increase the amount to handle three – then six – months of living expenses, giving you a buffer against unplanned unemployment.

With an emergency fund, you’re essentially building a cushion. Just make sure you only tap the money during legitimate emergencies.  Replace the money once the financial challenge is handled. That way, you’re safeguarded against financial difficulties, giving you more peace of mind when something unanticipated inevitably happens.

Can you think of any other marital finance advice a first time wife needs to know? Do you wish you knew more about marital finances before you were married and want to tell others about your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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