Few will argue that money is the number one reason married couples fight with one another. Since we are about to enter the peak season for weddings, I offer you the following guidelines for couples to use when discussing money and planning their financial future:
1. SET PRIORITIES AND SPECIFIC GOALS. Don’t assume you both have the same goals without discussing them.
2. DISCUSS VALUES. Sometimes differing values make agreement on goals difficult. When one person wants to spend now and one wants to save for later, it can be a source of friction. The same is true when one spouse tends to be less risk oriented than the other about investments.
3. PLAN IN FIVE YEAR UNITS. When planning for five year blocks, you can set both intermediate and long-range goals without feeling you’re being deprived forever.
4. BUDGET TOGETHER. Set up a manageable system for your cash flow together.
5. KNOW WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING. Keep records of your spending.
6. DON’T ASSUME THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE BOTH WORKING YOU HAVE A LOT MORE TO SPEND.
7. SAVE REGULARLY so you aren’t locked into that second income.
8. WHO HANDLES THE ACTUAL PAPERWORK CAN BE A MATTER OF PERSONAL PREFERENCE, although both of you should practice at it.
9. DON’T CONFUSE THE TASK OF DOING PAPERWORK WITH THE ACT OF FINANCIAL DECISION MAKING.
10. SIT DOWN TOGETHER AND DISCUSS FINANCES at least once a month.