Newlyweds and Money

wedby Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

As couples settle into newlywed bliss, one thing that can’t be ignored is money. “For richer or for poorer” means that many new couples must decide how to handle their finances. All too often money is sited as a major problem in relationships. Simply working on a sound financial plan together early on could be the key to a long, successful marriage.

The first thing newlyweds should do is make discussing their current financial circumstances a priority. During this time couples should outline goals for their future as well as work on a plan to achieve them. Too often newlyweds avoid the dreaded “money discussion” until it’s too late. Don’t make that mistake. As money is stressful on anyone, it can be especially difficult on a new couple. The key is to communicate with one another, and that will help make the money talk less uncomfortable.

Another immediate step newlyweds need to take is organizing their finances. For example, how many separate bank accounts or credit cards do you each have? Do you have a joint checking account? Do you bank at the same financial institution? Decide if you should eliminate some accounts in favor of joint accounts. Consolidating accounts and banking at the same place is a good way to make your money easier to manage. Determine which account you will use for your daily expenses and which cards are for emergency uses. Also decide what account you would like to use for savings and long-term investments. Organization and simplicity can make financial matters a much easier, less confusing issue.

After newlyweds say “I do” and enjoy honeymoon bliss, reality usually sets in pretty fast. One thing many recently married couples fail to do is promptly updating their important records/documents. Not doing so can cause unnecessary stress and financial strain. Consider discussing and reviewing the following:

  1. Estate-planning documents, such as a will. As a married couple updating/creating a will needs to be a priority.
  2. Update your emergency contacts or beneficiaries to your 401(k)s and life insurance.
  3. Review your current health insurance plans. Many employers and companies offer spouse and family plans. Research which plan works best for you as a couple.

Setting and sticking to a budget also is an important step newlyweds should take. To build your budget determine your combined income. Make sure to deduct each set monthly bill, such as a house payment, car payment, rent, electric, water, cable, internet etc. From there estimate about how much you spend per month on needed expenses, including groceries and transportation costs. It also helps to estimate how much you usually spend on other extras, such as dining out, entertainment ventures, events, and more. Once you’ve done this, set a monthly spending goal.

Other helpful budgeting tips include:

  1. Track your expenses each month. Most people don’t realize how much money they spend until they’ve reviewed all receipts. Make sure to track all methods of spending from cash to check as well as credit and debit cards.
  2. Set a monthly savings goal. This will help you from spending too much on unnecessary purchases as well as keep you prepared for the future.
  3. Make time to discuss your budget each week. This is something everyone should do, but newlyweds especially can benefit from taking a few minutes each week to discuss their current expenditures.
  4. Be realistic. When designing your budget it’s important to come up with a plan that you both can both stick to. Once you’ve determined your combined monthly income and bills, take into consideration what you usually spend on miscellaneous extras. This well help you set achievable savings goals.
  5. Live within your means. Along with being realistic, couples need to make sure their spending habits are within their financial means. One of the main mistakes newlyweds make is spending more money than they can afford. If you establish a plan based on your combined income as well as continually put money into savings, you will be on your way to a better financial situation.
  6. Stay organized. One of the easiest ways to maintain a budget is simple organization. Keep and record all receipts. Make sure to balance your checkbook(s) and record savings deposits and withdrawals.
  7. Align your budget with your goals as a couple. Making sure that your budget reflects your ultimate goals will help you stick to your spending plan. If you both find it difficult to stick to your current budget, discuss your goals again and make necessary changes.

Money isn’t the only issue that plagues newlyweds, but it is a big one. As a newly married couple, your finances shouldn’t hinder your honeymoon phase. As long as you make discussing your financial matters a priority you will be on your way to long, married bliss!

About Ohio Valley Bank
Ohio Valley Bank, established in 1872, currently serves personal and business customers from 15 offices throughout Ohio and West Virginia. The Bank's headquarters are located at 420 Third Avenue in historic Gallipolis, Ohio. The company has never changed names, making it one of the oldest banks in the state. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

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