Financial advice for new couples

Have you found your perfect life partner? If you are getting married, you and your future spouse are ready to embrace all of each other’s outstanding qualities and unconditionally accept any less-than-ideal traits. However, before you walk down the aisle and commit to spending the rest of your lives together, you need to discuss how you will be spending your money as husband and wife. Statistics consistently show that money is one of the main reasons married couples fight, so a little honest communication could keep your relationship from becoming a statistic. This is a serious conversion, so dedicate some uninterrupted time to talk about your finances.

During your conversation, you should discuss the following:

  • Communicate about your current personal financial situation. Tell your spouse about any debt or credit problems that you may bring to the relationship.
  • Discuss financial goals. Write out your individual short-term, mid-term and long-term financial goals. Then, share the goals with your partner and discuss their similarities and differences. Remember that if you and your partner are headed in different directions, neither one of you will get there.
  • Discuss your feelings about money. Talk about how you’d like to retire and how much you’d want to contribute to college funds for your future children.
  • Plan to share financial responsibility. Both partners in a relationship must be aware of the overall financial situation. Plan monthly meetings to discuss your finances. Make all significant financial decisions together.
  • Determine who will be the family CFO. The family CFO is responsible for paying bills on time, updating the family budget, and keeping track of family investments.

There are a few things to consider before the big day:

  • Understand your individual rights and responsibilities. State laws vary quite a bit regarding ownership of income and responsibility for debt. Learning about your individual privileges and liabilities will only help the relationship and could provide future financial security in a time of need.
  • Agree on your overall budget for your wedding. So many couples start out their union in debt due to an expensive wedding.

Finally, the most important money move you might make for your relationship is to embrace your differences. Understand that you cannot change feelings created by a lifetime of experience; instead, try to cultivate the positive aspects of each of your styles. There is no one “right” way to handle your finances and a marriage of your money styles may be the perfect solution. 

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.