Good saving habits
When it comes to money management among couples, it is quite common to find that a “spender” has married a “saver”. When it comes to saving for the future, any differences in saving habits can be a source of major concern in the future and may lead to major financial and relationship problems. Even the most solid relationship can be tested when there is no “meeting of the minds” so to speak when it comes to handling finances.
As a result, many a relationship has ended because of the turmoil that dealing with financial issues can cause. For instance, if one party is focused on saving towards a long-term goal such as buying a new home and the other party is always making exorbitant purchases and “maxing” out the credit card then it doesn’t take a scientist to see where this can lead. Eventually, the couple will be drowning in debt if the spending continues unchecked, which can lead to bankruptcy along with the end of the relationship.
It is therefore highly recommended that before couples say “I do”, they need to seriously discuss and explore their finances as well as good money management techniques. Here are some tips for couples on how to manage their finances without sacrificing their relationship.
(1) Be realistic: In setting financial goals, couples need to be honest about what they want to achieve and set short, medium and long-term goals and work together to achieve them. It is also crucial to have a budget and stick to it. This budget should include the collective income, as well as debts and bills. Full disclosure, trust and cooperation are vital at this point in order to see the benefits of this exercise.
(2) Decide on having a joint or single account: In order to determine whether or not to keep a joint account or maintain separate accounts, it will depend on how comfortable each partner is with their spouse and their spending habits. If both persons share similar money management techniques then a joint account may be recommended. Also, if only one person works and the other is entirely dependent on their financial support then having a joint account would seem appropriate. However, if one partner for example has a gambling problem and the other partner is concerned about the family’s future savings then maintaining separate accounts seems like the best option. The bottom line is whatever feels comfortable and appropriate should be pursued, as long as it is done in a spirit of love and transparency.
(3) Debt management: If one person has brought the majority of debt into the marriage then this can become a problem in the relationship. It is recommended that bills should be kept in the original holder’s name but both partners should strive to work together to pay these off as quickly as possible. Always exercise due diligence by asking probing questions early on to avoid any surprises after the wedding day. It is far better to learn the truth early and work together to deal with it than to find out when it is too late and you are both drowning in a sea of debt.
(4) Update important documents, wills and life insurance: Keeping up –to-date records of important documents, wills and life insurance policies is highly recommended when married. Each partner should also know where certain documents are located in the event of an emergency.
(5) Establish an emergency fund: Consider having an emergency fund if you don’t already have one. This fund typically should be between three to six months income in order to cover any unexpected expenses, such as illness or loss of income.
Finally, it is always best to consider your partner’s feelings when discussing money matters. Criticisms should also be kept to a minimum. Remember the wedding vows “for better or for worse” especially in these trying times. It is better to work together to accomplish your goals whenever possible and always put God first!