Tips for Newly Married Couples to Start their Life Together on Good Financial Footing

Getting married is a beautiful time in any person's life. You are deciding to join your life with another person's, and you are declaring your love and commitment for one another to the whole world. It is a time of pure happiness and unbridled optimism. You don't want to ruin it by starting your life together mired in debt and fighting over the bills.

It's important for every newly married couple to create a solid financial plan so that they can start their new life together on good financial footing. Many of the major problems that couples experience in their marriage are a result of financial issues. You don't want to let this happen to you. Here are a few tips for how you can create a strong financial plan to give your new life together the best start:

Create a Budget

The foundation for any good financial plan is a budget. You can't take control of your finances or set any kind of goals if you don't create a budget and monitor your spending. Have an open and honest discussion with your spouse about what your expenses and your debts are.

Include ALL your expenses -- not just the bills that have to be paid. Include the amounts you typically spend on going out to eat, getting that morning latte, buying clothes and other miscellaneous expenses. These costs all add up, and you need to account for them in order to create a strong budget.

Set Goals Together

Once you have a solid understanding of what your obligations are and the total amount of money you have coming in each month, set some goals together. These should be goals for both the short term and the long term. For example, some short-term goals might be buying a new TV or going to a big concert. Long-term goals can include buying a  home or saving for your retirement.
Agree on what your priorities will be and create some strategies for meeting those goals, including a certain amount of savings from each check.

Determine a Plan of Action for Debts

Ideally, you'd like to start your marriage with no debts. However, this isn't always possible. It's very likely that one or both of you will bring some debts into the marriage, including student loans, credit cards, or even medical bills. Determine a plan of action with your spouse for how you will deal with these debts. That can include a monthly payment plan for lowering debts, transferring balances, or getting a  consolidation loan.

You should then decide on how you will address new debt -- or how you will avoid it entirely.

Build an Emergency Fund

One of your savings goals should be to build an emergency fund. You never know when one of you could lose your job or you could become ill or have some other financial setback. Make sure you are prepared so that you don't take a massive blow to your finances. Your emergency fund should be about six months worth of income, which should carry you through most common issues you are likely to face.

Decide on Joint or Separate Accounts

Now that you know how you're going to spend your money, you need to determine how you are going to manage it day-to-day. Will you have one joint account, or will you maintain separate accounts? Or will you have a joint account for bills with separate accounts for your own fun money? There are pros and cons to each scenario, depending on what your approach is to spending and saving.

Make sure you have an honest conversation with your spouse and make a decision that will lead to the least amount of financial conflicts.

Finances are one of the leading causes of marital trouble. Make sure you start your new marriage off right by using these tips to create a strong financial plan that will have both of you on the same page.

About the Author:
Amber Satka primarily writes on financial topics, many of which can be found on her app site at www.carloancalculator.org. She is a former office manager and current mother and writer. Her leisure activities include bike riding and spending way too much time on Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Andrew Morrell (Creative Commons)

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