A newlywed’s guide to budgeting finances in marriage - Part 2

A newlywed’s guide to budgeting finances in marriage - Part 2

4 minute read

7. Don’t feel pressured to buy a home right away

Real estate is an asset (and an investment goal) that many married couples work toward. Speak to a real estate expert in your area if buying a home is an important milestone for you and your spouse. Be realistic about when and what you can buy. If you live in an expensive housing market, buying a home may not be realistic for a while. That’s OK. If renting makes the most sense on a cost level, rent, but contribute to an investment fund that builds equity over time, just as mortgage payments would.

8. Prepare for retirement before you prepare for your future children’s education

Having children may not be part of your plan, but if it is, prioritize your future savings. You can get education loans, if necessary, but you and your spouse won’t be able to get retirement loans. Start contributing to your retirement fund as early as possible. A common guideline is to put about 15% of your income into retirement savings. Online calculators can help you determine how much you’ll need to live comfortably after you stop working. Learn all you can about 401(k) and IRA options, and if your employer matches your contributions make sure you take advantage.

9. Start saving for your child’s education

If you plan to have children, you should start preparing for college as early as possible. Look into your state’s 529 college savings plan to see if it offers additional tax benefits, or investigate alternative investment vehicles that charge low fees. The earlier you start saving, even just a little bit at a time, the less financial strain you'll face when the moment arrives.

10. Decide how to approach family and money

If a close friend or a family member approaches you for a personal loan, how will you respond? You and your partner should agree on a policy, so neither of you ever feel that a friend or a family member is being treated unfairly when money is involved.

11. Prepare and sign a will

Ideally, this should be done early in your marriage, but it becomes more important as time goes on. By the time you’re a decade into marriage, you should have a healthcare power of attorney granted to someone, and your will should be well organized and updated regularly. Less than half of Americans have a will in place,2 but you need to make it a priority to organize your assets and sign a will for the ease and benefit of your loved ones.

12. Seek help when needed

If you are struggling with managing your finances or have significant debt, seek professional help. A financial professional can help you develop a financial strategy and create a budget. Some can even help manage your investments. Perhaps most importantly, a financial professional can provide you with valuable guidance on how to manage your finances and work toward achieving your financial goals.
Asking your parents for marriage and financial advice can help as well, but your parents’ money approach doesn’t have to be your money approach. Maybe only one of your parents handled the family finances. Maybe your parents seldom discussed money. You and your spouse should approach your shared finances your own way and discover what works best for you.
Remember that managing finances in marriage is a partnership. Working together will not only help you achieve your financial goals, but it will also help strengthen your relationship even further as you build your lives together.
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