Money Advice for Newlyweds
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) It's a sad fact, but half of all marriages these days end in divorce. One of the most common reasons for divorce is money problems. Whether it's the added stress of financial insecurity or problems arising from a lack of transparency, your finances can directly impact the quality of your marriages. Couples just getting married can start out on the right foot by following our advice.
John Heath, a directing attorney at LexingtonLaw says that the most important thing for new couples starting out is transparency.
"Lying or hiding things about your individual income is really starting things out on the wrong foot," he says. Charles Thybulle, assistant vice president and financial empowerment manager at Fifth Third Bank also put this at the top of his list. "Really communicate about everything," he says.
Transparency is something that needs to go through your entire relationship. "Hiding purchases from your spouse is a problem," says Heath. "I don't mean $20 -- any large purchases should be talked about and decided on together."
Ideally, this is something you talk about before you're married.
"Planning a wedding is an expensive endeavor," says Randy Hopper, vice president of credit cards at Navy Federal Credit Union. "How are you paying for it? You have to discuss the costs."
Ray Tenpenny of Merrill Edge argues that this is the time to get on the same page about your goals. "You need to have the same vision," he says.
Decide on Common Goals
Sure you have to save for retirement and a rainy day, but are there other financial goals to be discussed?
"I tell people to identify their goals as well as plan for significant life changes," says Thybulle. Changes can be anything from buying a house to having a baby to preparing for someone losing a job. He stresses that once you're married, it's no longer about just you.
"This person is now dependent upon your every move," Thybulle says. Sit down and talk about your common goals. "A budget should be a big part of this," he adds.
Start Saving Right Away
"Saving money is important, whether you do it through an IRA or a 401(k)," says Thybulle.
Hopper agrees. "You need to have some kind of a savings plan," he says, "You can't just live life off of a credit card."
Saving isn't just about planning for the worst or the very long term. It's also about saving for going on vacation or making large joint purchases together.
"The earlier you start saving, the more you can put down when you go to buy a home," says Tenpenny. "Later you can sell that home for more money and have an even bigger nest egg."