Best Financial Advice For Couples And Newlyweds
For richer or for poorer… that’s what you agreed to when you spoke your vows in front of friends and family. But while it can be easy to promise to love and to cherish no matter what situations arise, the reality is that money is often a cause of conflict for most couples and newlyweds.
When it comes to arguments in a relationship, money easily beats out religion, fights about kids, and even how many hours our spouse spent in front of the television. According to one study, money is the most common reason for arguments in the first three years of marriage. So, what can couples and newlyweds do to prevent money from impacting their relationship? What is the best financial advice for couples and newlyweds?
Best Financial Advice For Couples And Newlyweds
Today we bring financial experts together from across the globe with different socio-cultural backgrounds to share their secrets to money management in marriage. Here is their best financial advice for couples and newlyweds.
1. Setup Regular Discussion Time
Olivia of Happy in the Hollow
Schedule a regular time to discuss important issues: A game-changer for our relationship with money (and other aspects of our lives) has been setting up weekly meetings. They allow us to check in with each other, review our budget, and discuss upcoming expenditures. We fine-tune details and make small ad hoc decisions via email throughout the week. I feel like we’re more on track and more on the same page financially than we’ve ever been.
2. Let The Past Die
Michael of Your Money Geek
Let the past die – Kylo Ren
The best advice for a couple managing money together is to not dwell on the past. Merging finances can be a challenge and it can be tempting to fixate on past mistakes. However, focusing on mistakes doesn’t move the dialog forward.
The key to building a healthy relationship with money is focusing on continuous and gradual improvement. Each day try to be a little bit better than the previous. Eventually saving and budgeting will become fun and second nature.
3. Talk About Money Early
Jay of Time In The Market
Marry someone who has a similar view of money as you do, that’s my main piece of life advice. There’s a reason that money is cited as a reason for so many divorces and a relationship that doesn’t account for differing opinions on money can have a hard time getting off the ground. My advice to any couple is to talk about money early and often because it lays the groundwork for a successful relationship. Have a discussion about what money means to you, whether it’s a vehicle for future spending and financial safety or something to be spent right away. These two ideas are clearly opposites and may be difficult to reconcile causing strife in a long-term relationship. That’s not to say that people with opposing viewpoints on money can’t be happy together but talking about them early and coming to a sensible middle ground may be the key to that happiness. It’s impossible to come to that middle ground without discussions about money even if they’re uncomfortable.
4. Be On The Same Page
Marc of Vital Dollar
I think one of the biggest keys to managing money as a couple is communication. Both of you need to be on the same page. My wife and I set down every couple of months and talk about our finances. We look at our expenses, what we’re saving for, and talk about our overall plans and goals. That way we can make sure that we’re both on the same page, and if there are any areas where we disagree we can talk about it before it becomes a problem.
5. You Are Partners
Vicki Cook of Women Who Money
One of you may be the “money” person in the relationship. I am that person in our marriage and my husband is fine with that. But I make sure that we have a “money date” once every two weeks to talk about bills, upcoming payments, and where we stand on our financial goals. You are partners and whether the other person likes talking about money or not, it is incredibly important that you both know and have input on your finances.
6. Communicate Regularly
Communication, communication, communication. Discuss a plan, agree on a plan, and communicate regularly on how it’s going. We manage our money jointly as that works for us. But that decision comes down to the aforementioned communication and plan.
7. Sit Down And Talk About Money
Mike Collins of Budget Kitty
The best advice I can give to newly married couples is to really sit down and talk about money. Don’t just assume you have the same opinions and priorities. If you have this conversation upfront you’ll likely realize that you don’t always see eye to eye. It’s better to learn that early and form a compromise. If not you’ll find out the hard way and you can find yourselves in a real financial mess.
8. Build An Intentional System
Build an intentional system to make sure both of you are included in the financial decision making. It is not uncommon for half of a partnership to enjoy the detailed financial tracking more than the other. But DO NOT default to only one person handling all the money matters. We tried that for a while and it simply led to frustration on both sides. So, we worked on something that gave us both what we needed to feel empowered and involved.
For us, that means that I end up handling all the spreadsheet details and tracking systems. However, we jointly review the details quarterly, with a big review annually. That was my partner who always knows the important details should anything happen to me.
The most important part is our monthly walk. We intentionally get out and away from the spreadsheets and planning and talk about our goals, progress, and how we’re feeling about the journey. Since we implemented this practice, there is much less friction, AND she feels more engaged in our pursuit of financial independence.
It’s been better both for our relationship and our pursuit of FI. It’s gone from a grind to a shared mission and we’re saving more than ever while enjoying life more than ever!
9. Get Fired Up And Attack Your Finances Together
Mrs. Groovy of Freedom Is Groovy
Early in our marriage we each had debt. But rather than feeling bad about our individual shortcomings, we got fired up and attacked it together. Mingling our money, focusing on joint goals and dreams, and keeping no monetary secrets, have all given us a solid financial foundation. Finally, geo arbitrage served us well. We lived In New York where our margin of error was very slim and the most we could hope for was getting by. Moving away from family and friends to live in low-cost North Carolina gave us room to breathe.
10. Start by simply tracking your expenses
Track Your Expenses, Establish a Small Emergency Fund, Automate Your Finances
Financial information can be overwhelming. Below are a few actionable steps that a couple can take to start setting a financial foundation.
1) Track Your Expenses
Regardless of your income level, you can start by simply tracking your expenses. Make a commitment to track every penny you spend for two months and see what happens. This is simple, yet hard to do. Regardless, the results can be powerful.
If your income is low and expenses are high, you may not have an opportunity to save much or pay off debt initially. However, tracking your expenses will allow you to take control of your financial situation. It will help you develop a plan. You will think twice about those impulse purchases that we all make at times.
2) Establish a Small Emergency Fund
Second, set a goal to save up an emergency fund of $500 to $1,000. This will give you some cushion when small emergencies happen, such as a flat tire, broken dishwasher, or unexpected doctor’s visit. This is so important early on as there is nothing more frustrating than having to go further into debt to cover unexpected expenses.
3) Automate Your Finances
This one is a bit more complex, but after tracking your spending for a few months and building a small emergency fund, look into automating your finances.
What is “automating your finances”? It simply means setting up systems to automatically invest, save, pay down debt, or pay your monthly bills.
11. Put Budget In Charge
Evan & Nikayla Sutherland of Budgeting Couple
Let a budget be in charge of your money, and put an end to unwanted money arguments! Sit down with your spouse, create an unemotional, unbiased, income-based plan that you both can agree to follow, and voila! Your budget is now in charge of your money. So the next time you’re unsure if it’s wise to spend money, don’t consult your spouse: they’re not in charge of the money! Consult your budget. You and your spouse will always remain on the same financial page and live blissfully without money arguments.
12. Talk Often And Remain Open To All Viewpoints
Scott of Making Momentum
The biggest breakthrough we’ve had as a couple came after we started to openly discuss our finances. This included our financial goals, where we both wanted to spend our money, the biggest financial (and life) priorities coming up, and the biggest insights we had with one another’s financial habits (good or bad).
Thankfully this began within the first year of our now five years and counting relationship. At first, this was a more delicate situation as we were still getting to understand one another better. However, in time it’s quickly become one of the best decisions we’ve made and helped us improve our personal finances across the board.
From income growth and spending habits to travel hacking and retirement planning, getting on the same page through open discussion has shifted our entire financial journey together.
At the end of every month, we sit down to talk about money. The discussion might take 5 minutes if it’s been a good month and we’re on the same page or an hour if there are bigger factors to discuss.
The money will play an important role for the rest of our lives. Getting on the same page is paramount. The stress and uneasiness that money can sometimes bring into a relationship are often alleviated with a simple, open conversation. In terms of advice for those looking to improve their relationship with money alongside a significant other, I would say:
-Talk often and remain open to all viewpoints
-Try to keep the emotions out of it and stick to the facts
-Individual discretionary funds can help if one of you is more of a saver and the other is a spender
-Set a money discussion date or monthly budget meeting to have an ongoing “official” conversation
Money is one of the leading causes of divorce and when times are tight financially, the pressure becomes even more heightened. Make open discussion a priority in your life when it comes to finances and your significant other.
Don’t let it be a taboo subject in your relationship.
13. Be Open And Honest With Your Finances
Tim of Life For The Better
Be open and honest with your finances when starting a marriage. We recently got married this last year and finances are a hot topic item for every individual. We were open and honest with what we have and what we didn’t have. This led us to conversations about what we wanted out of life and how to get there. Simply by being open and honest, we were able to enjoy the conversation more and figure out details that truly matter not only for us right now but for our future kids one day.
Andrew of Wealthy Nickel
Communicate, communicate, communicate. My wife and I have different ideas about the best way to handle our finances, but we learned in the beginning that things go a lot smoother when we schedule a time to talk about our budget and future plans.
My wife is a saver and I am an entrepreneur/investor (i.e. I am willing to take more risk with our money for potentially better return). Talking through my ideas has the benefit of allowing her to better understand them and critique the ones that may not be the best use of our money.
At the end of the day, you have to be willing to have difficult conversations and compromise for the benefit of your family.
15. Define Your Goals And Automate Your Finances
Elle Martinez of Couple Money
Two crucial factors that helped us work as a financially opposite couple are really defining our goals and automating our finances.
When we looked beyond just the numbers of paying off debt and saving and began imagining the options and freedom that open up for more travel and being able to work from home, it created a deep motivation to follow a budget together.
It helped me to see that I was saying no to certain unnecessary (or low value) expenses because we needed that money for the big dreams.
Once we ran the numbers, we then made sure we stuck with the plan by automating most of our money. We then review things on our monthly money date, making finances less stressful and actually fun.
16. Have a “Fun Budget’ For The Spender
Michael Coleman of The Budget Boy
My wife is a spender and I’m an extreme saver. Naturally, this became a big point of conflict when we first merged finances, perhaps the biggest. Our solution was a monthly “Fun Budget” for her. This money can be used for clothing, hair, make-up, nails, social activities that don’t include me, etc. The rule is I can’t say anything… as long as she stays in budget.
17. Open A Joint Checking Account But Keep Existing Separate Accounts
Alexander of DayTradingz
Before it is even a question of making decisions about retirement planning in a partnership, couples often face a tense conflict in their relationships much earlier.
The conflict regarding the allocation of financial resources comes almost unavoidably to all couples.
This conflict arises in particular when it comes to whether they have a joint checking account in their relationship, or whether everyone has their own.
It is not uncommon that one of the partners is more security-oriented and thrifty, and the other is willing to take risks and spend money spontaneously. With a joint checking account, the conflicts are already pre-programmed when both keep pace on how they spend their money.
My advice is that both partners should first keep their existing accounts and also open a joint checking account to which each partner makes a monthly deposit.
This has several advantages:
- Each partner retains a piece of his financial independence
- The new account model can be tried out at a leisurely pace
- In the event of a break-up, the finances can be separated again easily
- There is a clear budget limit on the joint account which can be used for the expenses agreed upon.
18. Make Information Available To Both
Amanda of My Life, I Guess
My top financial tip for newlyweds is to keep each other informed. Although I manage the money in my relationship, I always keep my husband in the loop. Our kitchen calendar has the due dates and amounts for each bill listed, so we can both see where things stand at-a-glance. Anything that’s out of the ordinary is shared with each other and then also goes right on the fridge. Having this information available to both of us at all times – and in a place that is in our face at least a few times a day – has really helped to keep us both involved and aware of our finances.
19. Talk It And Develop A Plan Together
Be upfront with your money. Talk it through and develop a plan together. If you aren’t transparent and both don’t contribute to learning about personal finance, you’ll never get on the same page. From there, set out weekly/bi-weekly time to discuss progress and your spending habits.
20. Communicate openly with each other
Allison Kade of Fabric
Couples can work better together on money when they communicate openly with each other–and when both people have the knowledge to feel empowered. Too many people outsource all of the money management to a spouse because they don’t feel confident about managing their family’s finances, themselves. To some extent, this is especially true of women, and this dynamic can lead to trouble. If you don’t know how to deal with money, yourself, you risk being trapped in an unhealthy relationship or situation.
By contrast, when both people feel like they have the requisite financial know-how, then they can make an informed decision about what they do and don’t want to manage themselves. For example, I tend to enjoy investing and doing high-level financial strategy, so I usually grab those tasks, while my husband tends to manage the day-to-day things like reviewing our credit card statements. The important thing, though, is that he understands the basic concepts of investing, knows where we have our accounts, and generally has a handle on how much we’re saving, where, and why. Similarly, I like that he deals with our credit card so I don’t have to, but I make sure to know which cards we have, roughly how much we’re spending, and where everything is.
Communication is key!
21. Face Your Own Spending Demons
Chris Roane of Money Stir
Being the “big spender” in our relationship, I’ve gotten us into a lot of credit card debt in the past. It was a never-ending credit card debt cycle. I would get us into debt, I would get motivated to get us out, and the process would repeat. I was dragging our financial future down financially.
During each scenario, I would approach my wife with all of the reasons why going into debt for a certain purchase was worth it. I was very convincing. Once I received the item, it never lived up to what I was hoping for.
There was a deep issue I was avoiding with my spending. Until I faced my own spending demons, our financial future was screwed. I knew what we should do, but couldn’t align my actions with what I knew to be true.
Being in a relationship requires that we take a hard look at our spending habits and make sure they are aligned with our future goals. This requires a high level of communication and dedication. Getting on the same page has to be the top priority.
22. Have The Hard Discussions Early In Your Marriage
Kevin of Next Level Finance
Like most things in marriage, handling money together well comes down to communication. Rather than silently letting resentment build over how your partner is spending or handling money, you must communicate. Have the hard discussions early in your marriage. Putting things on paper is another important element of communication. For instance, talk candidly about expectations for spending and saving, then turn this into a written budget. Communicate frequently and openly. It’ll pay dividends for a lifetime!
23. Let Your Spouse Know When You Pay A Bill
JoeHx of JoeHX Blog
Since I am responsible for making sure bills get paid, I let my spouse know when I pay a bill. Also, I create monthly reports in Excel we call a “debt snapshot” that shows our debts, as well as the balance of our debts and investments for every month since I started doing these (January 2017). I then email my spouse the report.
24. Culture And Money Can Clash Even When Scarcity Or Savings Isn’t An Issue.
Lily H of Merry for Money
I’m Asian-American and my husband is “All” American. In East Asian households, it’s not uncommon for women to handle the household money. Gambling and alcohol was often an issue among poorer working-class men, that was one way to prevent those behaviors.
I grew up with my mom handling 100% of the money. All my dad needed to do was deposit his paycheck to her and she dictated the rest.
My American husband grew up in a very typical, Catholic, traditional suburban household. His mom was a stay-at-home housewife, circa 1950 style, and she got an allowance. If she needed to buy anything extra, she asked her husband for money. My husband’s father handled all the household finances, even today, now they’re both in their late 60s.
I would encourage all couples to acknowledge the differences and working them out first before they snowball into bigger issues.
My father resented my mother because he never found out what she did with the money exactly. My husband’s mother was angry with his father over the mismanagement of her small inheritance from her parents.
My husband and I like to keep a good 50/50 balance in household finances to avoid resentment and mismanagement.
25. Start Immediately, Living Below Your Means
Barbara Friedberg of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance and Robo-Advisor Pros
I’ve been married for 3 decades and understand how important it is to stay on sound financial footing throughout the marriage.
Start immediately, living below your means. That means take a portion of every paycheck and save and invest it into 3 buckets:
- Short term savings account for emergencies (up to 6 months of living expenses)
- Medium-term savings for bigger expenses such as vacations, home down payment, or kids college.
- Long term investing for retirement. It’s great to consider investing this money in the future. For new investors, a robot-advisor, the digital investment manager is a great way to get started investing.
After you saving and investing money is out of sight, you can spend the rest!
26. Talk, talk, and talk some more
Jessi Fearon of jessifearon.com
Talk, talk, and talk some more when it comes to your life goals and money goals. Share all the things with your new spouse and encourage them to share with you. Dream big together and come up with a game plan on how to achieve those goals. Working towards goals together will bring you both closer and help you both become confident with money and learn to trust and respect the other in the realm of managing money. Budgeting will become more natural, so will saving for retirement, wealth building, and of course, paving the way for future children. Building a stable home environment starts with bonding with your spouse over the big things that can typically tear couples apart – don’t let that happen with your marriage. Talk often about your goals and where you two want your money to take you. It’s an incredible thing to watch when a couple walks hand-in-hand towards their life’s dreams.
27. Keep a “do whatever you want with” fund
J. Money of JMoney.biz
“I always like the idea of keeping a “do whatever you want with” fund that’s just for you to spend on whatever you want 😉 You share a lot in marriage, and sometimes it’s nice to just have something that’s all yours with no questions asked. And it doesn’t have to be a lot either – just having $100 or $200 in there each can feel good! Or whatever else you guys decide on together.”
28. See what works for you
John Waggoner, Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
Sure. You’re probably going to have a couple of different systems for splitting your money, and you just have to see what works for you. Having a single joint account is fine in theory, as long as control issues don’t crop up.
Most people aren’t used to having to ask permission to buy something. As long as you’re open about your finances, separate checking accounts are fine. Joint savings and investment accounts are excellent, but you need to go over them together once or twice a year.
And make sure that your savings and investment accounts are titled properly: If one of you gets run over by a steamroller, you want the title to pass directly to the remaining spouse.
29. Better to have a plan in advance
Tonya Rapley of MyFabFinance.com
Setting boundaries between your money and your family can be a difficult necessity. To avoid becoming the ONLY financial solution that others depend on, especially when working to successfully manage money in your relationship, talk about it! It’s a tricky topic to discuss, but better to have a plan in advance.
30. Use Top Savings Tips To Save Serious Money
Make it a resolution to use the top savings tips to save serious money in 2021. Free groceries. Free Crock-Pots. Free plane tickets… OH, MY! 2018’s savings were smokin’ hot! https://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/money/top-savings-tips-2018
You should know the things you should never spend money on. https://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/money/never-spend-money-things
Clothes shopping is synonymous with impulse buys, which tend to drain your account.
But if you’re stacking a sale price, promo code, cashback rebate, and steep store discount on your favorite clothing designers — maybe impulse buys aren’t so bad?
I keep my clothing budget on point with these five commandments for clothes shopping:
Maybe you’ve tried every budgeting trick in the book and you still feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
Hannah, a stay-at-home mother of two, shared six minimal-effort ways she put an extra $9,713.76 into her family’s savings account in just one year.
She tells us how she did it:
31. Open communication is the key to making it all work
Amanda of WhyWeMoney.com
I firmly believe the secret to our financial success (and long-lasting marriage!) is that my husband and I have always openly discussed money and finances. When you get married, you start a new life together. This means your financial lives need to change to accommodate this new life together. And I believe open communication is the key to making it all work.
At first, communicating about money might be difficult. We’re all influenced by our past money experiences and how we were raised with money. So when we discuss money, it goes much deeper than money. Because, ultimately, money is an expression of our beliefs and values. Understanding the influence of our past and creating a safe environment (free of judgment) to discuss money and future goals is a good first step. Then a couple is better able to discuss individual and shared life goals – and align these goals with their finances.
Whether or not a couple decides to combine their money, they’re still choosing to go through life together. Therefore, getting on the same page, financially and otherwise, is an absolute necessity.
32. You don’t have to impress anyone
Budget babe of SG Budget Babe
- Don’t splurge on the proposal ring. Diamonds are pricey and have very little resale value.
Start your future together right by going for a more affordable ring that symbolizes what your relationship is about. The thought counts more than how much you’ve spent on it! My boyfriend proposed to me with a ring that cost less than 10% of what most Singaporean males typically spend on theirs and it didn’t bother me one bit.
- Remember that a wedding is only for a day, while your marriage is for a lifetime.
Wouldn’t it be better to spend the money on making memories during your honeymoon, or on your new home, where you’ll be living together for the years to come?
- You don’t have to impress anyone on your wedding day.
Many people are lured into Instagram-worthy weddings in this age of social media. There’s absolutely no need to – no matter what you do or how much you spend, you’re the star on your wedding day and no one is going to take that away from you.
- Think creative, or think DIY to save on costs.
Get your bridesmaids or groomsmen to help!
33. Have a monthly financial meeting
DrBreatheEasyFinance of Dr breathe easy finance
There is nothing more awesome than for couples to be on the same financial page.
Monthly family financial meetings is an important strategy to implement from the very beginning of every relationship.
It is better to have a set date or weekend of the month to do this. For example, we do ours every first weekend of the month. This allows both of you to mentally prepare and even do some homework before the date.
We usually combine it with a date to take the pressure off and make it more relaxing. We’ve actually paid a babysitter to watch the kids for these meetings.
Usually, we start our meetings by reviewing our net worth and our monthly budget. We then analyze and figure out what we did right and what needs improvement. These meetings have been very helpful to get us on the same page. are helpful in setting financial goals.
Our monthly meeting is a safe place to discuss money and not feel ambushed. It is important that you do not point fingers. Approach this like a quality improvement project in which the main purpose is to improve the process and not to blame the mistake on anyone.
We also say to forget prenup and try other financial planning strategies before tieing the knot.
34. Understand That Babies are Pricey
Kim Blanton of Squared Away
The big-budget buster everywhere is daycare, which is a financial shock for most new parents. The bills can easily reach or exceed $1,000 a month, and daycare represents 70 percent to 80 percent of the money spent on a baby, whether the parents live in New York City, Birmingham, Alabama, or Boise, Idaho.
Magnify Money’s estimates do not even include the college savings parents should start socking away immediately. They do include the federal tax credits for children.
Click here to read the full article.
35. Sit down and have a strategy
Melanie Lockert, founder of DearDebt.com
Newlyweds should sit down and have a strategy of what they will do with their finances. Will they combine? Separate? Have his/hers/ours account? Also, be clear on your short-term and long-term goals so there are no surprises and you’re on the same page.
36. Combine your finances from the star
My best financial advice for newlyweds:
“I think it helps to combine your finances from the start. You’re going to share your lives, your home, and perhaps even children. Why wouldn’t you share the money you earn and use it to further your joint goals? Having joint finances helps you learn to think as a team and work as a team. It’s also much easier to combine your finances right away versus waiting to do it later on.”
Holly D. Johnson – clubthrifty.com
Wrap it up!
In many relationships, money has become a character whose name shouldn’t be mentioned just like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter. But, does it have to be that way?
Today, you have 35 experts from across the globe with different, educational, religious, and socio-cultural backgrounds sharing with you their secrets to a healthy and happy relationship, especially when it comes to finances.
We believe you now have the best financial advice you really need to make your relationship a great one.
Over To You
So, what are the other financial advice, tips, strategies, techniques, or methods that you have used and worked for you in your marriage? Please share your financial tips for newlyweds with us in the comment section below.