Marriages, it is said, are made in Heaven.
Whether this idealistic proverb is true or not, it is definitely true that married life has to be lived out on Earth. Which means, the mundane, worldly matters like money have to become a part of the marriage. The dreaded ogre of Financial Management must be stared down and slayed, no matter how fairy-tale like the couple’s courtship might have been.
Here, then, are some tips that we feel will help any couple to manage their money – err, slay that ogre – in a more efficient fashion.
Understand your money personality
When boy meets girl (or any other permutation thereof), they find they like the same things, and eventually like each other, which is what ends up with the priest conducting nuptials while guests look at them, wondering when the buffet will open. But while your personality must match for a successful married life, your financial personality may not. It is important, then, to understand yourself and your spouse in this context.
Maybe one of you is a saver, rarely spending money without looking for the best deals. Maybe the other is a spender, who likes to buy things for himself and others, enjoying gifting and giving, or perhaps one of you is a risk-taker, excited about opportunities and willing to bear a loss for the potential of future gain, or a security-seeker who is unwilling to bear a risk at all, or even a flyer – blithely unconcerned about the future.
Whichever it is, understand each other, and understand what each type brings to a discussion about money.
Set your Financial Goals
As an individual your dreams might relate to career, adventure or personal fulfilment, but as a family unit the goals begin to change. Children, property, a larger home, health expenditure for the future – all these begin to take priority. So sit down with your partner and work out those goals, as well as what you need to do in order to achieve them.
Pay off your debts
It is possible that you enter into your marriage carrying some debt on your shoulders – perhaps an education loan, or outstanding credit card debt or even short-term loans taken to pay for the cost of the wedding. Whatever the case, it is important to wipe out the red ink from your ledger as soon as possible. Make paying off the debt your top priority so that you can start saving for some of those goals mentioned in Point #2 above.
Schedule a financial situation update meeting.
Life is busy. It becomes, then, all the more important to take time out for the important matter of money. An hourly meeting, once a month, would help a couple discuss whether they have been able to meet their financial goals for the month, what additional expenses are arising in the present month and so on.
Apart from that, it allows the couple to regularly interact and share their experiences in financial matters, which will only help them to plan better for the future.
Respect each other’s strengths.
Not everyone is good at everything. A savvy investor when it comes to savings might be terrible at finding the right price when buying goods. Often a frugal spender is also inclined to making poor investments in non-productive assets. Evaluate each other’s strengths and play to them. Let each partner share their insights and take advantage of their strengths to ensure as a family, you are making the best use of your money.
So there you go – keep your finances straight, be open and transparent about money – and above all, prudent – and you might find that marriages on Earth can have a few heavenly qualities as well!