Well, right after the grand celebration of “the day” of your life signs off, reality kicks in.
Wedding might be a few days’ affair, but it’s after effects are for lifetime. The vows of staying together through thick and thin are to be put into practice, on the emotional, physical and financial front. Things change, and the changes have to be accepted by both the partners – good or bad.
Talking about the financial front, many couples today can’t seem to survive the monetary crisis (if it occurs) due to poor money management skills. Whether you just moved in together, got engaged or married, money is a leading cause of disagreement for couples. This has to be stopped at the right time; otherwise the couple could end up in disheartening situations. In a recent survey, one-third of couples stated that finances were the most stressful aspect of their relationship.
There is definitely hope, but you need to think it through and act early. In fact, money management can actually be a rewarding way to bond with your loved one. By now, you are already wanting a solution to dodge such situations in your relationship, no? Well, that’s why we are here!
1. Communication is the key!
Nothing can be more relaxing than a peaceful talk with your significant other, discussing financial beliefs, concerns and goals. Marriage is the union of two completely different people, then how can you expect them to be the same on the financial front? One might be a compulsive spendthrift, while the other could be a cautious saver. One could see debts as a financial aid, while the other could think of it is an unwanted burden
The same habits of your partner, such as being a free spirit and not giving a second thought at spending money, that you loved before marriage, could irritate you later, Talking it all out is the best solution. Be honest about both of your good and bad financial habits before merging your finances as a couple. You might set a stress-free time to talk on a weekly or monthly basis about following a spending plan, paying bills and meeting your financial goals. Setting a budget together and sticking through it also helps in the long run.
However, such talks are not as easy as they seem in the mind. If talking about money with your partner seems too difficult, or it causes you to end up in an argument, you may need to speak with a marriage counselor or couples therapist for help.
2. Combining the finances should be given a preference.
If you and your partner are 100 percent committed to each other and feel certain that your union will stand the test of time, it’s generally best to view money as ours, not mine or yours. If the bond is strong enough, then the questions like “Who earns more?” or “Who has more debts?” become insignificant. In love, the happiness is doubled, and the sorrows are divided. Moreover, if there is transparency between the couples in the financial matters, it builds trust, fosters communication and allows you to accomplish more together than you ever could alone.
But remember, you should not feel suffocated in this commitment. If you feel that the plan is not working out, have the mutual understanding to set new guidelines and change tactics, without the other partner getting offended.
3. Set financial goals as a couple
Setting goals on the large purchases you want to make with your partner can not only allow you to communicate what you see in your future, but can also allow you to save for them together. This can even get you to work together towards investments like buying your own house, saving for retirement, or a trip to Kerala. Making big plans and having things to look forward to can help strengthen your relationship and make your bonds stronger.
4. Work like a team!
While communications with your significant other could lead to disagreements, do not forget that the other person is your partner and you are working together as a team. Do not try to be the leader and force your thoughts. Explain your thoughts and feelings logically and ask your partner whether he or she is willing to work as a team to be successful. Many people need help creating a financial plan, so don’t hesitate to use a financial professional. There are many helps available both online and offline. They are just a call away, so why are you still waiting?
5. Use good financial tools to keep you on track.
No matter whether you decide to merge money as a couple or not, there are some financial tools that make managing it easier. Try softwares that allow you to import your bank and credit card transactions into a dashboard. They allow you to keep track of spending and create a budget. Also, there might be certain Expenses that you’d want to split. They can be assigned to a special account such as “joint household expenses,” so they’re separated from your personal expenses. Then you can settle up using a variety of apps that allow you to send and receive money, such as Tezz, PayTm, or PhonePe.
6. Build an emergency fund.
Problems don’t knock before barging in, so this should be a top priority. This should be the money that is set aside in case something expensive happens unexpectedly, such as a lost job, family illness, natural disaster, or a major home repair. This could be planned and then saved.
For an example, aim to save about 6 months’ worth of your household expenses in case the emergency is that you have no income. Building an emergency fund should be a priority because it will bring financial security and protect your relationship in case disaster strikes. You have other more important things to take care of in such conditions, right?
7. Retirement planning.
Growing old together is looked upon as a major couple goal. But, have you thought about how to survive the old age? If not, begin it right now because you need to make sure you are set financially for the long haul. Look for the best investment plans, buy insurances and save a little portion of your salary for the latter years. You got to have your back, no?
8. Divide your financial responsibilities.
Another way to ensure that sharing finances doesn’t end in a disaster is to have an honest conversation about sharing financial responsibilities.
Who is responsible for making the rent payment on time? How much should you each pay for utilities? Who would pay the school fees? Being clear about who pays for what and each bill can help you to work out what is fair and who is in charge of each bill. This can help minimize late payments (and their associated fees!), surprise expenses and of course, fighting.
Money should not be the weakness, but one of the strong pillars in your committed relationship. Time may show whatever hues financially, just hold your partner’s hands, remember the marriage vows of being together at all the good and bad times, and shout out to your partner –