Finances play a very vital and important role in marriage. In fact, it could determine the success or failure of marriage. Statistics show that one of the biggest reasons why couple fight is because of finances. Most couple disregard and overlook the significance of finances when they get married as they are being overwhelmed by their emotions until reality sets in.
Marriage is not just all about emotional attachment and fulfillment, it brings with it a lot of responsibilities and challenges. Couples face new and enormous financial obligations once they get married, obligations that single people normally don’t have. The bills start to get in, health concerns, and budgeting. Expenses and financial responsibilities are inevitable in marriage, they just can’t be avoided.
The key in overcoming such challenges is to plan ahead ideally before getting married. Avoid doing a very common mistake that most couple make by giving finances a very serious consideration before getting married. Below is a list of things to consider and questions to ask upon marriage.
1.) How far do we want to go financially? People differ. Some prefer to get rich and wealthy while some are content with just living simply. However, no matter how different people may be, nobody wants to struggle financially. You and your spouse might have different views towards finances and it is very important for you as a couple to settle such differences and focus on just one goal. Having different goals will make both of you do things on your own and in most cases, that hampers the relationship. Talk to each other and consider options and compromise.
Focus on very important financial obligations such as school fees of the children in the future, investments, recurring fees and expenses, and savings. Looking forward to the future will make you realize the things that you may miss out so it is always better to settle everything before it happens.
2.) Where could we seek financial assistance or advice? Financial assistance or advisers are very important. Couples who are starting out often face financial struggles where they can’t solve it on their own hence the need of financial assistance comes in. Loans are by far the most popular financial assistance known but it does a little harm because of the interest rates. Instead of considering banks, you can consider seeking the help of your families and friends. It is very practical and virtually hassle free in terms of processing.
You will also need financial advisers to guide you with your finances. Advisers differ in field of expertise as the financial industry covers a very wide scope. Having a professional financial adviser will make you more efficient with your finances. However, if professional help might be a little expensive, consider seeking help from your family and friends. Your family and some of your friends may have valuable knowledge and experience in terms of managing finances and they can provide you an advice or two.
3.) How much will we need every month? There are recurring monthly fees that couples should consider and most of it are bills. Electric bill, phone bill, credit card bills, utilities bill, etc. come every month and they should not be ignored. Sit down with your spouse and do some math in calculating your expected expenses on bills in a month. In that way, you can approximate your payments and make a budget.
Now that you know how much are you most likely going to spend every month, consider your income. Is it enough to cover the expenses? If it is, is it enough to cover such expenses and at the same time provide you a comfortable and fulfilling life by supporting some of your wants? If you’re content living simply, then focus on the bills and savings but if you want more in life, maybe you and/or your spouse consider seeking a higher paying job or doing something else to increase incoming cash flow.
4.) What are our immediate priorities? Couples face different financial situations and though it is very important where do you both want to go financially, it is equally important to identify your immediate financial needs. If these financial needs are covered immediately, it will spare you from a lot of financial trouble sooner or later.
The most common immediate financial needs are getting covered with health care and life insurances, getting rid or avoiding debt, and saving as much money as you can. Health care and insurance will provide financial assistance in case your income generating capacity is lost. Health care will cover hospitalization expenses if you get sick while insurance will give your beneficiaries the face value of a particular policy in case of your death or permanent disability. Debt on the other hand must be avoided as much as possible. When it comes to savings, experts suggest that couple who are starting out must save at least 10% of their monthly or recurring income. The most ideal savings is an amount that could support you and your family for three years even without receiving any income.
Giving finances a significant consideration will spare you from a lot of problems and struggles in your marriage. In fact, if finances are well managed, it will result to a happier, organized, comfortable, and stress free life. So plan while it is still early and control your finances.