If you've been married, you know that there is a big difference between the "wedding show", and the real work of being married. One of the best pieces of advice I've seen for newlyweds is to put just as much planning (if not far more) into the marriage, as they do the wedding. It's worth it, because the support gained from a good marriage far outlasts the rightful excitement of wedding days and honeymoons. And, let's face it, dual income is a HUGE bonus to getting married. But, there aren't a lot of classes on financial advice for married couples. So, here are a couple ways to capitalize on its advantage and plan accordingly.
Whether you're engaged or you've been married for years, are these tips may help provide financial advice for married couples for the years ahead.
Way #1: Your Money Story
A great exercise for married couples is to write separate autobiographies on the relationship between you and the money you have acquired over the years. No matter how you've both earned money, there is a meaningful story behind each record.
This could be in paragraph form (no novels please) or just a bulleted list with some additional info. Regardless of how you write your "Money Story", ask yourself a few key questions in the process:
- What fears do you have about money?
- Who helped you learn about money?
- How do you envision two incomes (or one income) affecting marriage?
- Other than the obvious needs (pay rent, etc.), why is money important to your marriage?
Are there other important questions to keep in mind while writing your "Money Story"? Yes, but here are a few to get started. Now go tell your spouse about this week's new money exercise -- and get writing!
Way #2: Dream Scenario
Think about this for a moment:
"Imagine you are fully financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs now and in the future. How would you live your life?"
That first sentence sounds like a bad intro to some sort of pyramid scheme, but true and honest financial independence is closer than you think! And if you've already gotten off to a great start, help others with this frame of mind.
With pen (still) in hand, complete another exercise: write down your "dream scenario" in regard to money in marriage. And use your imagination. Don't hold back. Do you two want to own a lake house someday? Start a business? Travel the world? Have kids? Start a charity?
All of those decisions in marriage are huge financial commitments, but if you don't write down your goals, you are less likely to pursue and complete them. That's a fact.
Both of these simple-yet-effective exercises will create some great conversations in marriage -- regardless if you're engaged, newlyweds, or married for years. You just can't communicate enough about money in marriage. Don't view it as greediness; view it as marital readiness for whatever the future throws your way.