Top 10 Money Management Advice for Newly Married Students
Marriage signifies a fresh beginning for the newly-wed couple and comes with a lot of responsibilities. The primary liability for such couples is learning how to manage finance. When you say ‘I do’ you are committing to sharing your life and finances with your partner. Newly married students usually find this a daunting task since they have not had time to save finances, build stable careers or even have a job. The fact is, merging finances and marriage is not a walk in the park. Our thoughts on how to manage finances in marriage are shaped by numerous factors such as how we were brought up. However, like any challenge, there is always a way out.
Here are 10 money management pieces of advice to help newly-wed students with their finances:
1. Talk about finance
It is no secret that proper communication is one of the key pillars of any relationship. We share a lot of details about ourselves, our families, our experiences, and friends. As much as this is fun, it is also vital that you talk about your finances. Get to know each other’s income and make sure to leave at least 10% of each other’s pay for independent use. This will help create clarity even though all the money goes into meeting the needs of the family.
As students, you need to discuss how you will manage life with the amount of income at hand. The earlier you plan things out, the easier it will be to handle finances and debts. Keep in mind that after marriage, your partner’s debts are yours and vice versa. Everything you owned belongs to the both of you. Having this mentality will save you a lot of trouble and fights in the future.
2. Make goals
Once there is transparency about how much both of you earn, you can proceed to make goals for the family. Have both long-term and short-term financial goals. These can consist of having children, buying a car, moving to a new house or taking a trip somewhere. Have conversations about your shared goals to make sure that you are both on the same page and that your earnings are working towards those goals. Also, make sure to stay within the budget and that your budget is flexible enough to cater for emergency expenses.
The 10% cash set aside for personal use should not be included in the budget plan. In case your partner wants to do something special for you or their family, this money can come in handy. Also, requiring each other to account for the last penny of your salary is not the best way to handle finances.
3. Discuss bank accounts
There are numerous pros and cons to continuing with individual accounts or opening a joint bank account. You have to discuss with your partner which option works best for you. You can even settle for both possibilities. However, merging accounts can make it easier to control finances and help build trust in your marriage. It can also ensure equality in paying the bills. Again, it’s up to the both of you to decide the best course of action.
4. Build an emergency fund
If you’ve not created an emergency fund, consider prioritizing this option. 15% to 20% of the family’s income should be set aside for emergency needs every month. Such funds will provide financial security and be useful in emergency situations such as major home repair, illness, natural disaster or a lost job.
5. Design a budget
A budget is a must-have for every couple looking for financial accountability. To design one, review your monthly spending habits and identify the areas that you need to cut down expenses on. Then, create limits for each category. Do not forget to include your emergency funds in the budget. Always review your budget with your partner and make adjustments when needed. Make sure that you stick to your set budget to avoid overspending and getting into debt.
6. Budget tracking
Making a budget does not mark the end of managing funds. Track the resources to see if everything is going as planned. The allocated funds should be correctly maintained. It is also necessary to make changes to the budget whereas the income changes. This means that, when you earn some extra cash, let’s say from writing persuasive topics online, you should use it to clear some of the things in your budget.
Use a spreadsheet or online tools and apps to keep track of everything. This will make controlling finances easier. In the first few months, monitor your expenses to see if you can live within your budget. Also, scrutinizing your budget will help you the areas in which you need to adjust your spending.
7. Monthly money meetings
Find time in your busy schedules to sit together and talk finance. These meetings will give you time to think of practical ways to handle the aspects of finance. You will also get to review your budget and track your expenses.These meetings will also strengthen communication and friendship between couples. It will also provide a sense of financial security.
8. Retirement savings
As you plan for your future goals, also include some money for your retirement. If you are working for a company that provides a retirement saving plan, seize that opportunity. Save as much money as you can afford to avoid straining your budget. You do not have to save a thousand dollars every month. A small monthly contribution is enough and will eventually add up to a considerable retirement saving.
9. Stay out of debt
No matter the education level of your partner is, when it comes to money, everyone has an opinion. Therefore, talk with your spouse of how to get out of debt and stay out of it. Be attentive to what your partner has to say, give your ideas and respect one another.
Living absolutely debt free may not be entirely possible for all couples because of financial strains that come with marriage. However, having no obligations in the first few years can be a strong financial pillar for your union. Thus, try to stay out of debt as much as possible.
10.Trust your spouse
A happy marriage is one where there are love and trust. Trusting your better half will make them feel comfortable with you and trust you more. It will also make your life much more comfortable.
Trusting each other does not mean that you leave all financial responsibility to one person. It is about sharing duties and believing in each other’s ability to handle them.
The bottom line
The stronger your budgeting, expenditures and investing are, the better your married life will be. There’s no ideal time to begin discussing family finance. However, the sooner you start, the simpler it will be to manage your finances. No matter the difficult times you face, remember your vows to each other – you will love your companion for richer or for poorer.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.