Congratulations on your wedding! Now it is time to focus on your marriage. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the gut-punching statistics—you know, the ones that say more than half of marriages end in divorce. But that doesn’t have to be you. Tackle the No. 1 stressor to marriage (finances!) and you and your hubby have a great chance at happily ever after.
Start With Communication
It is the oldest axiom of a healthy marriage and the starting place for almost every marital advice piece, including ones on money management. You and your significant other need to have a frank and potentially difficult conversation addressing what to do with a deficit of money, a surplus of money and management of large assets like a home. Answering the question, “How much is enough?” is of the utmost importance. This will establish your baseline for your perception of money and how tolerant of risk you are as a couple. From there, you can move into a budgeting and planning process that can be adapted throughout your marriage.
Have a Plan B, C and D
Life is going to do its thing and your best laid plans will likely be derailed. As far as finances are concerned, have a secondary plan for revenue generation in place. Entrepreneurial avenues are a great secondary source of income since they allow you to place as much time and effort into them as you want. If you and your spouse have a sales bent, take a look at the Amway platform and find out if you embody the entrepreneurial spirit. You can create your network and use it whenever you want. This way it does not need to be a primary job but is available whenever you wish. Also, remember that it’s important to support your spouse in their efforts.
Pay Yourself First
When it comes to budgeting, one of the problems that people have is that they seem to run out of money on a month-to-month basis. In reality, it is human nature to use up whatever is allocated in a budget. To make sure that you always have money in your savings account, prioritize it by paying yourself first. If you want to put away $100 each month, then do that as if it’s the first bill to be paid. After that, you can pay whatever else you need to. A good rule of thumb is: once the money is in the bank, forget about it. Remember that this is not part of your monthly budget but a cushion for a big ticket item or a rainy day.
After a large company creates a budget, it will do a variance analysis comparing the actual numbers to the budgeted amounts. Typically the analysis looks at the percent increase or decrease of every line item in the budget. The frequency of this analysis is dependent on how much the budget will fluctuate. It can be anywhere from quarterly to annually. For a newlywed couple, you can assume that your money and spending will change rapidly, so take a look at it every three months. For areas of high variance, use things like coupons and big box stores to lower the costs. For places where you over budgeted, reallocate this money or place it into the savings category.