The process of getting married introduces a radical change into the lives of the newlyweds.
Couples that did not cohabitate prior to marriage may move in together for the first time. This process includes determining household responsibilities, planning for a future together and working out the couple's financials.
While it may seem relatively straightforward to merge two people's finances, in reality the process may be anything but. In order to guide newlyweds through this process, here’s four tips for couples working through their joint finances.
Maybe You Shouldn’t Merge
It could rightly be said that today's married couples are much different from married couples of just 20 years ago.
The way today's newlyweds handle finances is undoubtedly different. The fact is that modern couples do not necessarily have to merge their finances, a realization which was all but lost on couples married in the 1980s, likely due to the larger presence of dual-income households in the 21st century-era.
If both spouses have sufficient income, both can assume responsibility for certain household expenses and control their own pocketbooks exclusively. These kinds of arrangements are becoming increasingly popular among newlyweds as a result of the growing individualization of American society.
One way to work out a somewhat democratic and egalitarian arrangement is for both parties to take turns handling the finances.
In this kind of arrangement, the partners alternate managing the finances each year. As such, newlyweds can more or less experiment to see who is better handling the couple's money, or if it would be better to continue to alternate.
Receiving training on how to properly handle money can be an important step in learning how to manage one’s finances.
If it is not possible for both spouses to take such training, it may be a good idea to decide who is likely going to be the most responsible with the couple's finances and enroll that person in a series of money management training courses.
This will equip the responsible party to not only allocate the couple's resources, but also to help make those resources grow.
Above All, Have A Budget With Spending Allowances
Regardless of whether or not newlyweds integrate their finances, it is always advisable for newlyweds to manage their finances according to a predetermined budget. It is never recommended that any married couple, much less a couple recently married, operate without a budget.
Instead, all expenses and expenditures should be pre-planned as best possible.
Expenses, such as housing, car payments, food, energy, insurance, utilities and personal money should not vary much from month to month. All of these expenditures should be well budgeted in a way that allows for savings and investing for the future.
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