If you’ve been married, you know that there is a big difference between the wedding, and the real work of being married. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen for newlyweds is that they need 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, putting on my green shades here, dual income is a HUGE bonus to getting married. Should it be one of the main reasons you get married? Of course not.
Is it okay to capitalize on its advantage and plan accordingly? Absolutely.
So let’s discuss two steps for the maturing process of managing your money in marriage. Because after the wedding, it really isn’t always easy to merge two financial lives.
“Real World” Personal Strategy Note
Two Ways Towards Making Money Work In a Marriage
“Money, like emotions, is something you must control to keep your life on the right track.” -Natasha Munson
Whether you’ve been married for years, aren’t married but talk regularly with married couples, or have kids who will soon enter into matrimony, please think about these things and how they could help.
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 a simple 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 have been 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.
Although “here comes the bride” is a beautiful occasion in life, it’s inevitably followed with “here comes the bills”.
And cake of course.
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