Tying the knot without tying up funds

* Elaine McPartland
2013-08-25 17:11
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GETTING married is a huge step in anyone's life, given the chance in circumstances from being single to having a partner.

However, getting married can also have a huge impact on an individual's finances.

It is important to keep a very close eye on your bank account during the wedding process, and during the first few years of marriage. Here are some ways to ensure that you do not encounter too many problems in your relationship because of money.

Check in with each other

Money should not be a taboo subject in a relationship. Too many couples, especially young couples, prefer to interact in a casual, carefree manner.

This leads to silence with regards to finances, and other important aspects of life. Both partners need to be open about their current financial situation. If there are any outstanding debts, student loans, trust funds, or major savings accounts then they should be openly discussed.

Both partners should discuss their current insurance situation, and whether or not a family insurance policy would be beneficial. Do not be afraid to discuss salary, potential promotions, and other factors that could affect your financial future.

Agree on a budget

When you propose to your partner, or they propose to you, it is important to begin the financial discussions.

There is a wedding to be planned and other engagements that will take up a lot of money. Setting a budget is the only way to ensure you do not blow through all your savings.

Each partner should come up with a rough budget on their own, and those budgets should be compared extensively. By comparing the two budgets, it will be possible for a couple to come to a compromise on finances.

It is important for both sides of a couple to feel included in financial discussions, even if one partner brings in more money. Do not think that budget discussions are over after the wedding and honeymoon. In fact, that is just the beginning.

A couple needs to be in sync for the rest of their lives, otherwise they will be in financial trouble.

Set a budget for your house/apartment, food expenses, car funds, holiday funds, and other miscellaneous expenses. Set a percentage of your joint earnings that will be put into a savings account.

If there are any areas where overspending is occurring, take time to talk about it and come to an agreement.

Brushing aside financial issues is the worst mistake a couple can make. It is important to talk about these things as soon as possible, and with as much clarity as possible. 

Joint accounts - Yay or nay?

The topic of bank accounts is bound to come up sooner rather than later.

There is always a lot of talk about whether joint accounts are better than separate accounts. In terms of savings and transparency, it is better to have joint accounts. This way, both sides of a relationship can see where money is being spent.

If one half of a married couple decides to splurge on something, the other would find out through bank statements.

Just know that there is no reason to rush into a joint account. It may only be a few years into your marriage where you feel comfortable enough to share finances, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Talk, talk and then talk some more!

Do not be afraid to bring up the topic of finances. If you see a decrease in your salary at work, inform your partner.

If there is a large debt that you have been hiding, bring it out in the open.

It is better to talk about finances than to have nasty surprises later in the relationship.

Sharing information about finances also brings a couple together, raising the level of trust both partners feel for each other. 

Debt management companies

If you or your partner enters into a marriage with a ton of debt, it may be wise to speak with a debt management company.

These companies are specialists in handling debt, and they will be able to help you negotiate lower interest rates on your loans.

In addition, they will help you come up with a payment plan to clear your debt as soon as possible.

It is important to speak with a debt management company as a couple. Even if the debt is brought into the relationship by one person, handling the situation as a couple will set the standard for the rest of your relationship.

* This is a guest post by Elaine McPartland

- Fin24

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