Carefully Planned Financial Goals in Marriage is Key to a Happy Union
The most exciting part in life is getting engaged and be married eventually with your significant other. While there will be a lot of discussion not only in the preparation for the wedding, focus is also given for the couple especially on how to adapt to your new life as one. Talks regarding finances should be added to the equation as well if you want your marriage to last. After all couples enter into a relationship with each own financial goals in marriage.
Why do we need to do this? Surveys show that the most reason why couples fight is because of financial discords. Sad to say that even when couples have enough resources, there are times that they still end up fighting over money. Partners need to come up then on how to make do with their finances better if they want their marriage to thrive.
In order for you to lessen disagreements with your spouse on money matters, you need to have more reasonable financial choices. Money and marriage go hand in hand. You might be just engaged or newlyweds but it is not an excuse to make a financial plan that will help your relationship to last. Setting financial goals in marriage is one of the most important things you can do as a couple. Here are guides that married couples should not ignore.
Discuss About Financial Goals Together
Set a time and a day to talk over your financial goals in marriage. You should lay out your own lists on the table for deliberation. Said lists include: short term goals (which can be achieved in a year), medium term goals (which are attainable in 3-5 years) and the long term goals which are achievable in more than 5 years. Share the lists with each other with openness as you go over them. As much as possible try to come up with a mutual vision, choosing goals that make that dream a reality while you are also taking into consideration your individual goals.
When you are done with choosing your individual and mutual goals, it is time to put them into action. Discuss together about the actual scenario of how and what it takes to meet those financial goals in marriage. In this way it helps in ruling out the “pipe dreams”. They are unattainable dreams like for instance, you both dream of saving 5M in 3 years but in truth you can only manage to save 500K per year then it’s not realistic.
You should set financial goals in marriage using the S-M-A-R-T method. Be specific, meaning goals you’ve set must answer the questions who, what, why, where and how then set measurable ones such as saving 20K for emergency fund each month. Financial goals should be attainable, meaning they should be realistically achieved. They should be relevant to help achieve the foresight you both want to have for your life. And of course consider time, whether they are short-term, medium or long-term goals so you can track down your growth while moving your way up to success in the years to come.
The Separate and Joint Account
Another point to consider in making financial goals in marriage is whether to maintain your existing individual accounts then have a joint one. If you own a business together having a joint account is a realistic move but maintaining your individual accounts define how you two are as unique as a couple. Furthermore, saving a certain amount into your own individual accounts is one way to strengthen accountability and forget the urge to spend on personal items. On the other hand, couples with joint accounts enhance the feeling of solidarity and that their financial future will be one.
Opening a joint bank account as one of the financial goals in marriage will make it easier for you and your spouse to share joint expenses like housing and groceries. Some couples organize their joint account differently but a good strategy is to have both a joint savings account and a checking account. This move combines your savings and checking accounts with your spouse as you can easily handle joint expenses together. Having separate bank accounts meanwhile will give each of you the freedom to spend a little of your money without your partner’s feed in.
If each partner has his/her own personal funds, it will be easier for you to make little purchases with your partner’s knowledge. Whether you share a joint account or make use of the “yours”, “mine” approach in setting financial goals in marriage, there is no right or wrong way. Each relationship handles the financial management system differently.
Manage Debt As One
While the law tells that any debt done before marriage will be the accountability of the partner who took the debt, working together for a debt-free life is also a financial goal in marriage. Study shows that debt is one of the main threats to financial security if couples. Minimizing debt obligations gives a positive impact in your relationship. Keeping hidden debts destroys the trust that holds you as a couple together.
It may be normal for one partner to have a debt before marriage. But you have to discuss that problem together. Make a strategy on how to best pay off that debt. In that way, you will also be able to save for your financial goals in marriage.
If you are caught up in debt, eliminating that problem should be a priority in financial goals in marriage. If not, you will likely encounter some disparities with your spouse if you have problems to solve about money. The quicker you put an end on those hindrances, the greater chance of happiness in your marriage. Take each and every step as a responsible and harmonious couple.
Plan Spending and Saving Together
Start budgeting, this is another way to realize financial goals in marriage. List all the sources of your income and the day-to-day expenses. Then make sure to set aside money for an emergency fund. Come up with an agreement together about spending. What are the guidelines you will set in order to have your spending habit on its right track? Both of you may have a different idea of what you should spend with your money on but then you will likely share an adequate amount of money each year. Keep what’s important for both of you and come up with a spending agreement as a financial goal in marriage. This will save you a lot of disagreements in the future.
When you live on a “month-to-month” billing routine, it might catch up with your goal to save. Budget becomes crucial but you must at least save 10% of your monthly income for the future. It is important to make little adjustments and sacrifices each month. The earlier you and your spouse begin saving 10%, the better for your financial goals in marriage.
Financial Goals in Marriage are Attainable When Both Help and Understand Each Other
At the end of the day, life happens as it is. There will come a time when you will be experiencing some setbacks. But always be flexible, keep communication lines with your spouse open. In doing so, it helps you see the other picture – if one of you loses a job, pause for a while in your strategy until you get back on track again with your financial goals in marriage.
Having your own financial goals in marriage will give the uniqueness it deserves. Start with your S.M.A.R.T strategy right on. Marriage is like a marathon. And you cannot be in a marathon successfully without good planning.
Read the Entire Financial Couple Goals Series
- The Secret to Surviving Money in Relationships
- 9 Money Questions Every Marriage Needs
- How to Pay for an Engagement Ring with No Money
- 5 Best Websites for Cheap Wedding Loans
- Why Every Couple Needs Joint Financial Accounts
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.