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As of this month my student loan has a 1 in front of it. That started as a 5! I realize I couldn’t have done this without my amazing [frugal] husband. Through this journey, I am constantly reminded how important it’s been to be on the same page with our finances.
Our shared goals and vision for the future have made the hard months bearable and the pitfalls easier to climb out of.
By the time I met Travis I’d seen more couples divorce in my age group than I want to count. It was so significant to me that I questioned a lot of my desire to be married.
Now, even in our new marriage, I’m acutely aware of the differences in my relationship and those I’d seen end. I want others to build good habits and lay a foundation for cooperation that will lead to a flourishing marriage.
Combine Bank Accounts
Ok so not really a habit but follow me here, marriage is a union and unions don’t have separate bank accounts. To us, this was the first step to becoming unified. We are one team with one checking account.
This involves a lot of trust and can stir a lot of feelings you didn’t know you could feel for a bank in the one who has to leave their personal account. I’ve read forums and listened to financial talk shows for reasons why couples keep separate accounts.
People feel like they’re under surveillance in a joint account or have been hurt financially before. I highly suggest pre-marital counseling or counseling in general for these feelings.
If you can commit to marrying someone without fully trusting them with your money there’s a disconnect there that needs mending.
We started budgeting together a few months before our wedding. I’m a spender and he’s a saver so this kept me in check when making wedding purchases.
Now that we’re paying off student loans we’re able to figure out what’s coming, decide together where it should go, and personal money is personal.
I buy whatever I want with my personal money and he has no say about where the money went. Example: I love coffee. I will go to a coffee shop and throw down five dollars for a latte; Travis does not understand this concept.
For some people it’s coffee, others it’s clothes or tech gadgets. I love the “personal” budget because it takes the feeling of judgment out of the equation (Even though, for me, that feeling is totally self-generated.)
Breakdown in communication is currently cited as the top reason for divorce right now. To communicate freely there must be trust, to build trust there must be vulnerability, and money talk makes everyone vulnerable.
Have conversations about where you see yourself financially in 10, 20, and 50 years. Do you want to have a million at retirement? Plan your path to get there. A shared plan makes the journey easier.
Something I’ve found useful (and actually kind of fun) is Personal Capital. You can see the big picture of everything from checking accounts to investments, debt, etc. Anything financial. I love the retirement planner tool. You can both see the track you’re on to retire and make adjustments in different categories to plan how to get there.
Every couple’s marriage looks different but money looks the same to everyone. Get on the same page with your finances and continue to be honest about what you’re spending. The time you take now will save you stress in the future.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Using these links helps me keep my wine rack stocked and cheese in the fridge. Cheers!