Love and marriage can be rewarding. But love—alone—is rarely enough to make marriage work. On the contrary, many additional factors must align for a successful marriage. While love may make you feel warm and fuzzy, it will not pay the bills. Instead, you need money and should discuss marriage and money at every phase of the relationship.
Discussing marriage and money may not always be comfortable. However, a little discomfort today can help you experience the lifelong bliss every married couple desires. Let's explore marriage and money, the importance of financial planning for newly married couples, and other important considerations.
Before You Say "I Do," Learn How to Do Finances as a Married Couple
According to research by Ramsey Solutions, matters of the dollar are one of the main reasons married couples fight, leading to a divorce. To find your ‘happily ever after,’ you must how to do finances as a married couple. And it starts with having the sometimes tough conversations before walking down the aisle or cohabitating.
Credit & Financial Fitness
While your marriage didn't come with a loan application, you should disclose the same information to your fiance. Make sure to discuss:
- The amount of debt you and your fiance have
- Whether either of you has student loans
- Monthly income and any additional sources of revenue
- Investments and savings account balances
- Any liens or judgments against you
- Your credit score and credit history
- If you've ever filed for bankruptcy
- Any other topic surrounding finances
Not having these conversations prior to marriage can create more uncomfortable situations later. For example, would you rather talk about your $50,000 student loan debt before marriage or after being declined for a mortgage? Concealing this type of information can strike at the very foundation of the relationship. Specifically, it can be perceived as dishonesty, which is the wrong foot to start a marriage.
Play to Your Strengths
Once you've gotten the tough conversations out of the way, you can discuss your financial strengths. Between you and your spouse, ask:
- Who is the better saver?
- Who is the best penny pincher?
- Who has the most experience investing?
- Which of you is more of a risk taker?
- Who is the biggest spender?
- Who is the most frivolous?
- Who is the best budgeted?
- Who is best at sticking to a budget?
By identifying each person's weaknesses, you can play toward each other's strengths.
Marriage and Money Tips for Married Couples
Once you've said, "I do," the financial conversations shouldn't stop. Instead, the focus should shift to how to do finances as a married couple, successfully.
Keep Open Lines of Communication
Ensure you and your spouse are transparent about finances and financial planning. A few of the most common triggering events that should prompt you to have a financial planning conversation are:
- Change of job
- Increase in pay or bonus
- Child planning or the birth of a child
- Purchasing a home
- Purchasing a vehicle
- Any other major purchase
Just Married? Consider Financial Planning for Newlyweds
Because financial matters can be confusing and contentious—even for marriage veterans—consider financial planning for newly married couples. This specialized financial advice for newlyweds is tailored to the unique needs of new couples. In addition to balance sheet matters, financial planning for newly married couples can help increase lines of communication and bolster trust. Financial planning for newly married couples may include topics like:
- Emergency fund planning
- Retirement savings
- Goal setting
- Getting organized and budgeting
- Tax review
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- Estate planning
While meeting with your advisor for financial advice for newlyweds is important, you and your spouse should talk about money on a weekly or monthly basis to track progress toward goals.
Managing Finances During and After a Divorce
No one enters marriage expecting it to end. However, this isn't just a possibility — it's probable. Based on data from American Psychological Association, 40% to 50% of first marriages and 60% to 67% of second marriages end in divorce. If you're in this situation, consider the following end-of-marriage and money tips.
Work with an Experienced Financial Professional
In a divorce, the love and adoration that originally attracted you to each other may be replaced with vitriol and contempt, especially concerning marriage and money. Just as you are likely to have a divorce attorney, you should consider working with a seasoned financial professional. A financial advisor can help you navigate challenging topics by offering unbiased guidance you can trust.
Establish Separate Accounts
It's usually best to close out any joint accounts and establish separate accounts—instead of removing or adding names. It can offer you an extra sense of security and peace of mind, considering you'll be the only one with access to the funds. You may also want to:
- Get organized and gather important financial documents
- Develop a go-forward budget for yourself
- Carefully track expenses and anticipate future ones
- Change your direct deposit to go to the new account
Separated Yet Still Connected
If you and your spouse share any credit accounts, you share the debt as well — regardless of who does the purchasing. It's vital to remember that on-time bill payments represent up to 35% of your credit score. To protect your credit, payments on joint accounts must remain current. One simple solution is to establish account alerts to ensure no missed payments. You should also regularly monitor your credit report to identify co-signed accounts because you will be legally responsible for those debts.
Contact Brockmeier Financial Services for Financial Advice & Financial Planning Solutions
Whether you're preparing to marry, already married, or in the throes of a divorce, it's always a good time to speak to a financial professional for financial planning. And the experts at Brockmeier Financial Services can help. At Brokmeier Financial Services, we aim to help you live the fullest life today and tomorrow. We offer a range of services, one-on-one guidance, and solutions that can be tailored to exactly where you are and where you want to be. Contact Brockmeier Financial Services today!
Any opinions are those of Brockmeier Financial Services, LLC, and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy selected.