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Race Day September 22, 2018

Healthy Living Expo September 20-21, 2018

Financial wellness for newlyweds: talking money with your honey

, by Darren Schuldheiss

The idea that opposites attract might make for great wedding toasts and tales, but when it comes to money management, newlyweds who share the same approach are less likely to see their marriages end in divorce. With wedding season upon us, we would like to offer newlyweds healthy money advice for a long and prosperous union:

‘Til debt do us part, and other unromantic topics

Ideally, couples make time to talk through their personal financial situations before wedding bells ring, so there’s no post-ceremony reveal about each other’s financial situation. At the very least, couples need to come clean about any outstanding debt they bring to the marriage and their specific plans for paying down that debt. Failing that, however, newlyweds should still make time to talk through finances. 

Yours, mine and ours

The percentage of couples delaying marriage is the highest it’s been in more than a century, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that more couples are coming into married life with separate incomes and equally independent attitudes about savings, spending and investing.

It also means couples need to give themselves some time to think through how they will manage money. Rather than immediately co-mingling all assets, couples should consider establishing a joint account for shared expenses (rent or mortgage, property taxes, utilities, car payments) and separate accounts for personal expenses. 

Have a plan (or plans)

Once couples have settled on where they are moneywise, they should focus on where they want to be moneywise. Certainly most newlyweds became couples in part due to common goals and values, such as wanting a certain lifestyle, planning to have children or wanting to retire sooner rather than later.  Personal finance plans serve as roadmaps to get couples from start to destination.

The planning process should start with setting a household budget. Next, set short-term goals such as establishing an emergency fund or paying off student loans and credit card debt, and then decide how you will meet those goals. The same process applies for long-term goals such as managing expenses on one income, saving for college and saving for retirement.

Money can’t buy you love

Marriage is compromise, and that goes double for personal finance. Putting money management differences on the table gives couples an opportunity to develop an understanding and appreciation of each other’s approach to personal finance. By acknowledging and understanding differences early on, couples improve the odds they can avoid personal and painful conflicts over money. 

    

Darren Schuldheiss is president of KeyBank’s Idaho market. 

Tags: life balance,wellness,goal setting,family time