In the last week or so I have had a several conversations with people who are engaged, kind of looking for the next step. “I have done my own thing for several years, I know exactly how much I can spend”
Well once we turn your I to our how much can you spend?
Talk about your finances, then get a budget. I have a buddy that when he and his wife were married she had $15,000 in store credit card debt. They never talked about any of that before they were married. He paid cash for college while he was going, scholarships, working while he went and general studies at the local community college. Starting out get on the same page, each of you do a written budget individually. Then swap and look at the other’s budget with no judgement that is key. Guys if they have a huge budget for shopping that is how she has been working for her with her money. Ladies if his going out/bar budget is higher than the national debt understand that he may not want to be on a pool league for the rest of his life. Ask to see each others bills credit cards, student loans, car payments. My wife and I were savers we both had debts coming into the marriage but we knew that here is what each of us has here is what we are paying on them monthly.
Is it easier to have just one account for all of the bills for the house? I know several couples who this is my money this is your money. Some split every bill in half and write 2 checks to each place, cell phone, mortgage, internet. Some couples divide I pay mortgage, and this bill you pay cars and this bill. Your money is yours mine is mine. “I won’t look in the shoe closet you don’t look in the garage.” That is a direct quote from a customer of mine about 3 weeks ago.
What is important to each of you? If she wants to travel once a month to a beach and he wants to save and retire early you have a lot to talk about. Set boundaries, each of you have a dollar limit that you can spend without calling the other one about. Ours is $20 it is large enough that we can buy something for the other one or the kids without feeling like we shouldn’t have done that, and still small enough not to wreck a budget at a sale rack. Neither is wrong as long as you are both on the same page and it is something you can both live with. That includes goals do you want to retire at 55 or do you want to travel more while you are in good enough health to not have to worry so much?
Who is going to be handling writing the checks either by paper or online? Let me tell you about how tight money really gets when you accidentally both write a check for rent the same month. It just ties back into discussing finances.
Who is paying for the wedding?
Are you paying for everything over $x.xx? Just because you are getting married doesn’t mean that it free. How long do you have to save for it? Most of the time you will put a deposit down on most things then on the week of you will start to settle up. This is where it is incredibly important to be on the same page and on budget for things if you over look something and you have maxed out all of your resources the last thing you want to be doing is calling off the flowers so you can have a photographer. Worse yet getting sued because you couldn’t pay the DJ.
If another job isn’t going to work to put as much money aside as possible. Best way to save is get cash out of the bank every week for that weeks budget. On everything take the change put it into a jar then once a month take that jar to the bank and cash it in. Put the jar money into a savings account any extra money that you didn’t put into the gas tank is put into the savings also. Then repeat the cycle.
There will be easy and fun conversations ahead. There will also be difficult conversations ahead. We have not ever been asked for money from any of our family or friends but one day we or you might? We would loan out money if we were at a concert and I forgot my wallet in the car sure here’s $20 bucks were here for a good time. If you want me to pay for your new tires on the car I’m going to pass. I have seen it over and over again at work where people will come in and have brother in with them pulling out of his savings account for a car repair or something? I actually had a siblings taking a loan out so the other one could finish their own basement. NO! You are not entitled to my money or my hard work. I will help you if you want to finish it yourself. I will gladly be free labor, just ask me don’t just assume I can help you move with no notice.
Set boundaries for yourselves.
Start to think about insurances do you have life insurance already? If not you will want to start to think about getting some. Then start to think about getting a written Will, if something would happen you don’t want to make your new spouse decide what you want done with all of your stuff. You can do a search online and find someone or a site that will do just fine. If you are thinking about doing a Power of Attorney or a Trust. Go to your bank and ask them what they will require for verbiage for either type of account.
“Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn’t dividing everything in half, but giving everything you’ve got!”