You are about to start a new life together, and everything is so romantic and exciting there is so much to look forward to …. On the other hand, there are things that need to be addressed may not seem so romantic or exciting like, dealing with your finances . But talking things through and taking a few steps to sort out this aspect of your relationship can help make the rest of your lives together less stressful – and therefore much more romantic and exciting.
Here are some items to address in order to start out your new life “Financially Smarter”:
- Which financial habits will you bring with you? You are coming into the marriage from different backgrounds and attitudes regarding money. Stop to think about the financial habits and attitudes you’ve picked up through your life. Then decide which of those you want to bring into your marriage. We all have certain assumptions about money, and self-awareness can help spare a lot of conflict.
- Discuss openly how you feel about money and spending.
Are you thrifty or more extravagant? Do you feel your spouse should be earning more than you? Is he/she ok with that? Are you oriented towards traditional roles regarding earning money or not?
Understand there is not always a 100% right and 100% wrong – you need to work together to get the right balance between income and lifestyle, between long term and short term, between your needs and your spouse’s needs. It is an ongoing conversation, and you should expect to have to revisit the balances you have struck throughout your marriage.
- Whose responsibility?
One of you might end up being more “in charge” for practical reasons, but you are both responsible to know what is going on with your money. You are both responsible to make smart decisions. You don’t want to be saying in the future “he said I could buy something” or “she got us into debt”. Instead, if you both take it upon yourselves to know your budget, then you can work independently and together on a common goal.
- Allow your financial decisions to reflect your values. Jointly.
After all it is not about the money. We don’t have money for the sake of it, rather money is a tool to help us live the life we want. What do you value? How do you express that with your spending and with your financial goals? Decide together what you want, and then make a plan for how you are going to get it. And help each other stick to it.
Rifka Lebowitz is a Financial Consultant specializing in personal and small business finance. After a decade in the investment and banking industry, she went out on her own to pursue her dream; helping business owners, individuals and couples to be smarter about – and with – their money. Her passion is the behavioral aspect of money, teaching practical tools and strategies to gain control over one’s finances and increase wealth and security. Rifka is the Founder of the extremely successful Facebook group “Living Financially Smarter in Israel”. To start out your life out your new life financially smarter, contact Rifka at firstname.lastname@example.org.