I often get excited when I hear of upcoming weddings of my family or friends. It is certainly an occasion for celebration as two persons commit to spending their lives with each other. I wonder though how many couples realize that along with other kinds of adjustments they need to take into consideration their financial plan.
Many couples enter marriage with only a vague idea of what their partner earns and how much debt they currently have. There are expectations on both sides although often it is not discussed which can lead to future arguments about finances.
There are also societal concerns as it might be the norm to accept that the male in the relationship should shoulder the heavier financial responsibility. Some women may feel that their contribution does not need to be financial they take care of the house along with any children they might have with their partner.
On the other hand, there might be husbands who expect that their wives should add significantly to the family’s coffers. Some couples gloss over the details of who will provide the financial support for the family while others simply do not often discuss financial matters until after the vows. By then it will be too late!
Suggestions for good money management
It is important to have those potentially awkward conversations about money before you tie the knot! As you discuss your views on money management listen to your partner’s answer to these questions: What is your attitude toward money? How much do you earn? What debts do you currently have? What bills do you expect me to pay? How do you feel about saving?
When people go from one-income families to two-income families, the temptation is to start buying some of the things you’ve always wanted to have. Resist that urge as it can lead to unrealized expectations and tension in the marriage. You might now have two incomes but that doesn’t mean you can afford everything you want. Some needs and wants are more important than others.
Work out a budget
Couples who have a budget even before they pool resources will find it easier achieving their financial goals. Bear in mind that the budget can not be arbitrarily decided by one mate while the one who earns less has to suffer silently. In order to have less conflict about teh issue it is best to have open discussions that are free from blame or guilt.
Sometimes one partner is more careful with money than the other. Does this mean they are banned from giving their input? They are in a partnership and so both voices must be heard. I will post a part two about sharing bank accounts and further suggestions in my next posting.
How about your relationship? Do you share the burden or is it one-sided? Let me hear from you!
Teri Ann Renee Paisley
Gleaner online writer