Congratulations! The wedding is behind you. The centerpieces were perfect. Your weird cousin Al didn’t do anything embarrassing. THANK GOODNESS. Being a newly married couple is A-MA-ZING!
Now that marital bliss is your everyday reality, how do you combine your finances?
Let’s break it down. What you find-ah. What you feel now. What you know-ah. To be real. Listen here to the Classic Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real. If you are not familiar with the song, it’s about being REAL.
How do you handle money? What if you make more than he makes? What if you make more than she makes? IT doesn’t matter. It is now OUR money instead of MY money. (Disclaimer: I have my own fun money for coffee and lunch. This is MY money. We agree on it and no one judges. At least that I am aware of.)
Combining finances can be difficult if you don’t have agreed upon values, goals or, you know what I am going to say next. A BUDGET.
I will also say that it matters where you are. Some people may already be living together. Some may not until after the wedding. Some of you may be renting, and some of you may have purchased a home at this point. Regardless of where you are you need to get on the same page.
If you are new here, you may not know that Bill and I were in the CLOSET when it came to FINANCES and for the first 5 years of our marriage there was a clear shortcoming in our communication efforts. It didn’t go so well.
Here is how you handle combining finances:
- Talk about it. Start with individual budgets. Write down your income, your savings, your expenses. Have your partner do the same. Here is a little bonus advice- take the emotion out of it. The numbers are what they are, if they are impressive, good for you if they are not then you need to begin with where you are. Period. Getting upset, fighting, shaming doesn’t accomplish anything.
- Have a heart to heart about where you are in your life. If you are in your 20’s you will have different life goals than if you are in your 40’s.
- What are your short-term savings goals?
- Start a family?
- Buy a house?
- A killer vacation?
- Save enough so you can retire in 10 years?
As I love to say,
if you don’t know where you are going,
any road can get you there.
What is your day to day must-haves and then ask yourself, must you REALLY have them? I’ll give you an example: I was a “must have a new outfit every week” kind of girl. I was a “must go out to lunch and dinner a few times a week and I don’t eat leftovers” kind of girl. I was a “my house has to be decorated super cute and was a regular at Home Goods” kind of girl. I was 31 when we got married and that is where I was. NOW if I had asked myself these questions, would the leggings and sweater combo still have been at the top of my list? I guess we will never know, BUT if you’re here, you can change your future by asking yourself a few questions:
- What are our 1-year goals?
- Do we want to start a family?
- Do we have a family and do we want to send those kids to college with help or not? How much help do we want to offer our theoretical or real kids? 100% college support, 50%, we will see? What is the game plan?
- Do we want to save for a house? Or do we want to rent and if yes, how long do we want to rent and why? Maybe you have an inner nomad that you want to explore before you root in a particular place. Maybe your career will take you around the country or the world.
- Do we want to go to work for the next 40 years? This is a REALLY GOOD QUESTION.
- What does our retirement look like? Do we want to travel when we retire? Do we want to eat dinner out 4 times a week? Do we want to be able to help our kids and watch the grandkids?
What you do today matters for your future. I encourage you to think about your future. When you know you only want to work for 10 years, or want to be a stay at home mom, or want to travel, it will impact your visit to Lululemon and whether to make or buy lunch.
I hope this helps.
Until next time.
We believe in you.
YOU CAN DO IT!!
Karen & Bill