After you say I do, you have to start living your everyday life. This includes deciding how to handle financial matters. You need to create a budget, decide on a savings plan, and how you're going to spend money on extras. Here are some tips for setting financial goals with your spouse.
Have a Frank Conversation
The first step in setting financial goals with your spouse is to simply talk about it. Before or after the wedding, you and your partner need to sit down and discuss financial goals. If you spend every dime you have, then be honest with your partner. It's a good idea to talk about any debt that either of you have.
You need to discuss budgeting and how much each of you makes. If you already have a retirement plan, you may need to discuss whose plan to keep. There's also the possibility of combining plans. At this stage, it's essential to be honest with your partner.
Create a Budget
If you've been living on your own, then you probably already have a budget. Your partner already has one too. When setting financial goals with your spouse, it's a matter of combining the budgets. You need to make sure that outstanding bills and student loans don't get missed in the budget. Of course, you're eliminating one household, so you'll both save money.
Are the two of you going to combine all of your money into a single savings and checking account? Or are you going to create a household checking account and keep all other money separate? It's up to each couple to decide which method works best for them.
If you decide to create a household checking account and keep all other money separate, then you need to decide what portion of the bills each of you will pay. For instance, if one partner makes considerably more than the other, then you might consider asking that partner to contribute more money towards the household account.
There are many reasons to talk about saving when setting financial goals with your spouse. You might want to buy a home and need a down payment, or maybe you want to start a family. It's beneficial for the two of you to set saving goals together. This shared goal is more easily reached when the two of you work together. When you reach your goal, it's time to set a new one. It's a good idea to be a lifelong saver.
Since many employers offer a matching contribution for employees who set aside part of their paycheck for retirement, you probably already have a retirement plan. The employer creates the accounts and decides on the financial institution for their retirement fund.
You can still combine your retirement plans, but one partner needs to transfer funds out of their account to the joint account. To decide which account to use, you may need to track the growth of both accounts over a six month or year period of time.
Pay Off Debt
One or both of you will come to the marriage with existing debt. You might owe a lot of money on credit cards or past medical bills. If you went to college, then you may have outstanding student loans. You may find it easier to pay off these debts with two incomes.
As a couple, you need to decide if you're going to pay off all the debt together. You always have the option of each partner paying off their own debts. Either way, it'll be easier to pay down this debt with two incomes paying for a single household.
You and your partner can enjoy financial success. You need to be willing to talk about money matter honestly and openly. It's always beneficial to set realistic goals and access them frequently.