LB Note: With my own wedding coming up on December 30th, 2018 (see full recap of the event here!), I thought I'd dust off this post and give it a refresh. It's more food-for-thought for myself, but I thought readers would enjoy it as well. Thanks again to everyone in the FinCon Facebook group for their thoughtful advice and help creating this large round up!
When you’re just starting off life as a married couple, sometimes finances can take a backseat. However, they are too important to ignore. It’s common knowledge that financial incompatibility is one of the leading causes of divorce in America. Besides the enormous emotional burden, divorce can take a huge financial toll as well. We just bought a house and we're preparing for a wedding in a month and it seems like money is the only thing we talk about. We've got a lot going on!
With that in mind, I'm definitely taking a tip or two from the advice below as action items for us in 2019.
Here 45 pieces of money advice for newlyweds, lovingly curated by yours truly and collected from the most prominent personal finance experts and bloggers on the internet. Hopefully, these articles will provide some ideas on approaching those tense “money talks” as a newlywed couple.
Money Advice for Newlyweds from Financial Experts
Meet with a financial advisor.
“Meet with a third party [financial advisor] after you get back from the honeymoon who can help balance each other’s needs vs. wants and set your personal and family goals. Going to an advisor was one of the smartest things we ever did. It helped me be not so cheap and my wife Kari get a decorating budget we could live with.” —Scott Alan Turner
Pro Tip: When searching for a financial advisor, be sure to get clarification on how they make money. Some advisors can make a commission on financial products they sell, so it is important to know if there are any potential conflicts of interest. Your best bet would be to hire a fee-only financial advisor who gets compensated by the hour rather than by a 3rd party for selling certain securities.
“Don’t lie or omit your financial details to your spouse. My best friend and her husband have been married for 1 year. They didn’t combine their finances, so they didn’t share much about their financial situations. Well, she got pregnant and he lost his job 2 weeks later. Then he told her about his $35,000+ of credit card debt. It’s been awful but they are making it through it…” –Crystal Stemberger, Budgeting in the Fun Stuff
“DON'T LIE TO YOUR SPOUSE! About money or anything else, really.” ~ Mindy Jensen, BiggerPockets Community Manager
“Start off with what your goals are. Once you two have your joint goals, it's much easier to come up with a system that will reflect your style……The key is to have regular money chats no matter what your system. Some couples like weekly, some do monthly. It's an easy way to make sure your money is working for you two.” ~ Elle Martinez, Couple Money
Two words: Money dates.
“Have money dates! Have a regular time you two get together to not only review the numbers but talk about what you’re working towards.”
–Elle Martinez, Couple Money
“I suggest a date night to budget. Don't just create a budget for the wedding, go one step further and create a budget for first year after marriage, the budget is an annual communication device within a marriage.” – Adam Funk, CFP – The Savings Coach
“This is classic advice but so important once you get out of that ‘honeymoon stage’ in your marriage. My husband and I were so busy trying to jump start our joint debt payoff right after we got married that we didn’t find the time or money to go out on a casual date. Even if you’re just getting out of the house together once a month, it’s worth it. There are plenty of frugal ways to date.” –Choncé Rhea, My Debt Epiphany
Define what decisions should be joint decisions.
“At a more practical level, set a cap on the amount of money the other person can spend without asking (for example, $500 could be your threshold so you can spend $499 without consulting with each other but need to ask if you plan on spending $1,000). Micromanaging is not good but neither is spending carelessly.” ~Julie Starnes Raines, Investing to Thrive
Pro Tip: Having a clear set of guidelines of when you need to speak to your spouse about an expenditure and when it is okay to have a little autonomy is crucial. It gives each partner the independence to make their own decisions but also gives a clear indication when you need to come together to discuss purchases as a team.
Maintain (some) separate accounts
“Have each partner maintain a separate savings account. Be totally open and transparent about it. Combine everything else if you want. Divorce rates are high, and not having at least a small buffer in case of the worst can spell financial ruin later down the line should you become a statistic.”
–Brynn Conroy, Femme Frugality
“Make sure you always have your own credit cards plus money you control. Exactly how to handle finances will depend somewhat on the personality of the two people and what assets each is bringing into the relationship” ~ Teresa Mears, Living On the Cheap
“I firmly believe that each partner should retain some individual credit, each partner should have their own retirement funds, and each partner should have their own savings account. “I love you so much that I want you to be able to take care of yourself if you have to.” ~ Kate Horrell, KateHorrell.com
Resources for Before You Walk Down the Aisle
I know absolutely zero about married finances, but after reading these posts one thing is clear – decide if you're going to be a “common pot” couple, “his mine and ours” or “completely separate finances” money couple!
50 Money Questions to Consider Before Marriage – The Centsible Life
Marriage and Money: What's the Best Way to Join Finances with your Fiance? – DailyFinance
The Couples and Money QUIZ – From Kiplinger.com
Money Advice for Newlyweds: Articles for After You've Tied the Knot
Great resources for handling money after you've become husband and wife.
18 Money Management Tips for Newlywed Couples – Money Crashers
Newlyweds and Managing Money After the Wedding- GoGirl Finance
The 8 Step DIY Financial Plan for Newlyweds – FinancialFitnesse
How to Set Up Your Finances After Marriage – Debt Free After Three
Debt and Marriage– How Paying It Off Makes You Happier – Clear Point Credit Solutions
6 Financial Steps to Take After Marriage – The Centisble Life
Newlyweds, Here's How to Manage Your Finances – Forbes.com
Advice on Dealing with “The Money Fight”
According to this survey, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships, but didn't we already know that? You're going to fight about money, but these experts can help you prepare and navigate that inevitable money spar session.
How to Go from Reluctant Spouse to Dream Team – The Reluctant Landlord
The Notorious Money Fight: Overcoming Money Issues in Marriage – The Budget Mama
How to Get Your Spouse Involved in Family Finances – Bible Money Matters
Dealing with the Financial Friction in Our Marriage Yielded Surprising Results – Frugal Confessions
Other Favorite Resources
One Bed, One Bank Account – Folks LOVE this book by Derek and Carrie Olsen. It also comes with a workbook!
The Couple Money Podcast– Elle's dreamy, sweet voice will help soothe all your marital money woes in this awesome podcast.
His and Her Money – An amazing website for couples interested in bettering their finances; the podcast (of the same name) is outstanding.