10 Financial Steps All Newlyweds Should Take

Every couple has a different approach to their finances. Some may choose to keep their money completely separate, and while this can work, most newlyweds choose to combine some or all of their finances.

It might seem straightforward, but where most couples get derailed is not openly discussing money, their options, and their financial goals. With any aspect of a relationship, communication is key.

However, communication is just the start. Here’s 10 steps all newlyweds or committed couples should take:

1. Have “the talk”

No, this isn’t about a talk about who gets what TV right on which nights. It means having a conversation about money. Talk openly about your money habits, your financial history, any debt you have, and your financial goals for the future.

Now is also a great time to bring up the massive credit card debt you owe, as it is too late to back out now…you’ve just gotten married!

Find out what each of you expect and want from combining finances and make sure you’re both comfortable moving forward. You don’t want to resent each other over money worries further down the line – just that there is too much sport on the TV…I felt a little bit of my soul die just writing that.

2. Set goals together

The next thing to do is set goals together. If you want to save for a new car, put money aside for a house deposit, or travel the world together, you’ll need to have money goals to work towards.

Decide how much you’ll each put aside per week or month and keep checking your progress. Life changes and so will your goals, remember to stay flexible and adjust your goals if something arises, particularly a big change like a having a child or moving house.

3. Create a budget suited to both of you

Budgeting can be hard, particularly if you weren’t in the habit before you were a couple. But budgeting is essential for staying in control of your finances.

Remember, you’ll need to plan a budget that is suited to both of you and compromise when necessary.

The beauty of creating a weekly or monthly budget as a couple is that you’ll be able to keep each other in check and motivate each other to stay on track.

What I really mean is: Notice when the other party spends money on crap and intervene…vigorously.

4. Set an expenses threshold

This doesn’t mean you control what each other spends – or does it? – but rather have a threshold to tell each other about expenses before you make them. It might not seem important now, but you’ll quickly learn the difference between a $100 and a $1000 purchase.

Take a look at the money issues that most couples fight about:

newlyweds financial steps

5. Decide how you’ll bank

Are you going to combine all of your bank accounts? Or open combined ones for specific expenses or categories like bills, emergency fund, holiday?

There’s a lot to think about when combining your funds. Sorting out the best way to bank for both of you will make life that much easier.

*Pro tip: Swiss numbered accounts are generally not conducive to a healthy financial relationship.

6. Decide who will pay what bills and when

There’s a third guarantee in life (after death and taxes), and that’s bills.

Look at all the bills you receive and decide how you will pay them. Will they come out of a joint account? Or will you allocate bills that each of you will pay?

Gents, let be honest here – good chances are you are awful at this so fess up and let the ladies handle it. That isn’t an excuse for not knowing what’s happening; it’s just my experience that woman generally handle this aspect better than us, myself included.

7. Talk about how you will handle money lending

The time may come when a friend or family member needs to borrow money or needs a helping hand. It’s always good to be there for people, but it’s also important that you discuss any money lending with your partner.

Bob at the pub who needed a spare pineapple ($50 note) for a punt isn’t generally t0 be included as requiring a helping hand from my experience.

8. Update/complete your will

This is particularly important if you have children or others that rely on you. Make sure you secure their future and yours by sitting down and completing your wills.

Remember, having a will isn’t for your benefit, but the people you leave behind. Not being clear in your wishes means you’re leaving the decision to people that might not agree on what that is, especially so when they are grieving.

Don’t be selfish – get it done.

9. Re-evaluate insurance policies

Now that there’s two of you, it’s important to look at insurance policies and make any alterations or changes. Home & contents, car, life, health, income: evaluate if all of your insurance policies are still working for you.

10. Seek an outside perspective

If you’re struggle to get on top of your finances as a couple or you’re not sure how to reach your big goals then you might find it helpful to get some advice. Talking to a wealth manager will help you get a good financial perspective and steer you towards the right financial decisions as a couple.

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