Let’s be honest, nobody wants to have a person counting their pockets. We get defensive about how much we are bringing in and where we are spending it. Merging the pot with your spouse can be more challenging than one would think. Money and marriage is an old problem, possibly going back as far as marriage itself. Factoring in normal bills, rainy day expenditures, savings/401k contributions and overspending is a lot to keep track of.
When you are married, all of your finances need to be tackled together. Whether you decide to have one person pay everything or one spouse pays the mortgage, while the other pays the subsequent bills is up to you both. Merging wants, needs and expectations is a lot more than just ‘balancing a checkbook.’ Financial struggles is more than just how people spend, but can shed light on real character issues.
Here are a few ways to get the financial conversation moving in the right direction.
- Set up a joint account. This allows you both to still have ‘freedom’ to spend while being responsible. This account will be for you to both contribute to and all recurring house bills will be paid from it.
- Plan for automatic extras. Things like college and retirement are very scary. However, planning in advance won’t make them feel like such a pain. Discuss having accounts where these funds are automatically contributed to monthly which will take the sting out when the time comes.
- Fun cash. You both must set aside a certain amount of play money. This is money you can do whatever you want with. These are for the purchases you would otherwise have to hide from each other.
- Set up a debt-free plan. You can’t expect your spouse to help you pay off debts that existed before you got married. If you can agree to work on each other’s debt together, that’s great! If not, make sure you work on a plan to pay down your debt. This is certainly one of the benefits of sharing living expenses…having extra funds!
- Savings is a must! Whether it’s to go passport stamping or finishing the basement, you need to have a savings. Try to save six months of all expenditures before planning unnecessary, big purchases.
Knowing where you are financially makes you feel more secure, and that’s a great place to be.
Written by: Carla DuPont Huger
Follow Carla on Instagram: @writewithcarla