Living together as a couple is one of life's most rewarding experiences. Each person enters the union with different priorities, goals and values, but it is important for each to play a role in preparing for the future. It is not up to one individual to be responsible for making all of the financial decisions. It requires a concerted effort from both partners to successfully manage every aspect of financial family planning. Both spouses should know exactly where and how they spend their money and learn how to make good financial decisions.
Managing money by making educated financial decisions is important for everyone regardless of age or circumstances. Young married couples are faced with an entirely different set of financial issues, which are no less significant than those encountered by older couples who are contemplating retirement. Both may find it difficult to discuss a realistic plan for saving money and planning for future goals. Getting started takes commitment and a willingness to agree on how to manage money on a daily basis.
Couples should spend time reviewing and discussing their priorities individually and as a couple. Marriage does not mean an end to individual financial goals, but should be considered a positive way to work toward a more secure future together.
Here are five ways that couples can determine how to accomplish a more secure future together:
1. Do an audit of all expenses by writing down all expenditures during the month. This should include all fixed expenses such as mortgage, food, utilities, gas and other car expenses. Make an organized list and prioritize necessary and unnecessary purchases.
2. Make a list of incoming assets and fixed expenses for each month. Allow for unexpected events such medical emergencies or unplanned car maintenance such as buying new tires or repairing household appliances. Use this information to prepare a budget by prioritizing this list.
3. Look for ways to cut back on unnecessary purchases such as dining out or going to the movies. Be creative in finding ways to work within a budget that allows for saving part of every paycheck. Prioritize non-essential spending and strive to save at least 5 percent of all net income. Saving 20 percent each month is a great goal.
4. Create savings goals together and discuss the best ways to save as a couple. Work together to decide where and when to start saving and discuss a timeline for future savings goals. Focus on determining what strategies will be used to ensure that financial goals will be met within a mutually agreed upon timeline.
5. Set both short and long-term goals together. This includes vacation planning, buying a home or car, planning for a family, or saving for retirement. Each spouse should have input into the amount of money they want to save and how they will set priorities for making spending decisions.
By working together to achieve your financial goals, couples can wisely manage their money. The key is to maintain open communication and to set mutual goals from the start. By discussing big financial decisions together, you will stay on the same page and be able to rely on one another.