Being married involves having a shared vision about the future, Spouses should always plan their individual, as well as joint finances. If not appropriately planned, this could take a toll on the couple's financial health.
Before you think about getting married, it's important to know what makes YOU happy and fulfilled. If you establish this first, it is easier to carry those thoughts and behaviors into future relationships, eventually making you a better wife, and mother, should you choose to walk down that path.
The way we earn, spend, and save money is a practical expression of our most fundamental beliefs. When our priorities are out of sync, money can become the great divide in an otherwise harmonious relationship. If only one of you is going to be working after you get married, extending one income to support two people can be a challenge. If you're combining two incomes, it usually improves your financial stability.
Here are ways that you, as a couple, can improve your relationship with money.
Make Savings Auto-magical
This should be your top priority, especially if you don't have a solid emergency fund yet. Make it the first bill you pay each payday, by having a set amount automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings (try an online savings account). Don't even think about this transaction just make sure it happens, each and every payday.
Always Pay as Agreed
All repayments and missed ones are recorded on your CIR (credit information reports). Missed payments and high outstanding amounts negatively impact your credit history and credit score. Pay your EMIs and credit card dues on time and as agreed to the lender.
Figure Out Who You Are
It's important to have your own identity before getting married. All too often we neglect our own personal development and growth, only to merge with a partner and take on their values and interests without being clear on what makes us happy. Spend some quality time alone and learn how to enjoy your own company. Take solo trips away and live alone for a few years. Keep a journal and document what brings you joy and strength.
While waiting for someone to complete you might sound romantic in the movies; in reality it means you consider part of yourself missing (where's the romance in that?) You are complete. You were complete the minute you were born. Give yourself the love you need first, then if you find a person who enhances your life and loves the real you - all the better.
Just because you're a couple doesn't mean your expenses automatically double. When your spouse moves in with you, you still have the same rent and TV-cable bills, and other bills like electricity, heat shouldn't increase too much. If you continue to have two incomes, it's going to be easier to support one household than two. You can use other strategies, such as buying food in bulk and carpooling, to save even more. Another cost-saver. If one of you has a superior, less costly health plan, the other spouse can sign on.
Joint and Guarantor Credit A/Cs
Monitor your joint loans or loans where you are the guarantor regularly, since you are held equally liable for missed payments. Joint holder's negligence could affect your ability to access credit/loan when you need it. Also evaluate the possibility of moving an individual loan to a joint mode. In this way, both of them can avail additional tax benefits which in turn will result in family savings. Such opportunities also provide each partner to monitor the financial situation of the family and total outstanding.
Control Your Impulse Spending
The biggest problem for many of us. Impulse spending, on eating out and shopping and online purchases, is a big drain on our finances, the biggest budget breaker for many, and a sure way to be in dire financial straits.
Set Your Financial Priorities Together
Know what is important to each of you. One of you may want to buy a house while the other thinks saving for your retirements is more important. Seeking the help of a financial planner can help you set your priorities and still spend money on some fun things like a vacation now and then.
Your financial stability can plummet after marriage if your spouse has serious money problems. You aren't responsible for her pre-marriage debts, but if she's shackled by heavy credit-card balances or student loans, it's going to be much harder for her to contribute financially. If her credit score and history are bad, that will hurt both of you if you buy a house together. Worse still, if her money-management issues aren't under control, she may continue piling up debt after you tie the knot. That's a recipe for disaster.
Inquiries made by lenders because of an application you made for credit or loan can affect your score. Too many inquiries might mean that you're taking on too much loan or that you're in some kind of financial trouble and are looking for credit to help you out. In most of the cases, it will be prudent to apply for the loan as joint holders rather than individual persons.
Invest In Your Future
If you're young, you probably don't think about retirement much. But it's important. Even if you think you can always plan for retirement later, do it now. The growth of your investments over time will be amazing if you start in your 20s. Start by increasing your 401(k) to the maximum of your company's match, if that's available to you. After that, the best bet is probably a Roth IRA. Do a little research, but whatever you do, start now!
Save 10% of Your Income
Couples living month-to-month often rationalize that they just don't have enough money to save. Make the decision to save at least 10% of your income. After saving enough cash as an emergency fund, invest in a retirement account. The earlier the two of you start saving money for your retirement years, the easier it will be have a retirement lifestyle that you both hope for.
Look to Growth Your Net Worth
Do whatever you can to improve your net worth, either by reducing your debt, increasing your savings, or increasing your income, or all of the above. Look for new ways to make money, or to get paid more for what you do. Over the course of months, if you calculate your net worth each month, you'll see it grow. And that feels great.