Financial issues in a marriage can be a bigger deal than many anticipate. When the rose-tinted glasses of courtship wears off and the reality of bills loom large in the household – patience can wear thin and problems abound.
Pre-empting these issues and making some decisions from the outset will hold you in good stead when the time comes around. We give you five simple things you can do to help ease yourself into the world of couple finances before you walk down the aisle.
1. Give Joint Finance Accounts a ‘Trial Run’
Having joint bank accounts is not something that will work for everyone and some couples do much better when they are able to autonomously decide what is best for their money.
Give the idea of joint finance accounts a ‘trial run’ by inputting a sum of your money into an account together. This account can be used to pay for dates or save towards the wedding.
If however, you find the joint decision making for the account is wearing your relationship down or creating animosity; perhaps joint finance accounts are not the way to go.
There is no right or wrong way to begin couple financing so always give yourself options to find the right fit for your potential family. You can also check out our joint account pros and cons list to further fortify your decision.
2. Get a Clear Idea of Each Other’s Spending Habits
You may be in love and positively sure your personalities suit but what about spending habits? Even the best of couples often have very different ideas about money but with understanding and compromise; this doesn’t have to cause too many problems in your married life.
Get to know your partner’s thoughts about money and take a good look at how they spend. Similarly, sharing your thoughts about money and spending will help them understand you better.
The idea isn’t to impose but to hopefully work together and maintain some amount of personal habits without putting the household bills at risk.
Have a discussion on money and how you hope to work together in future. It’s not a romantic way to spend time by any means but one that can be a great boon to your future life together.
3. Give Joint Purchases a ‘Trial Run’
Just like joint finances; couples often opt to buy houses or cars together as the joint income allows them to afford bigger and better items. That said; taking joint responsibility for a big loan can be a strain and it has often caused irreparable rifts in marriages when things go bad.
Practise making semi-big purchases together before going in for the long haul. Is there perhaps an electronic item you would both like to have such as a video camera or advanced GPS system? Share the cash to purchase a ‘joint’ item and see how you manage.
Often, most couples do not have a choice when deciding to joint purchase a home thanks to skyrocketing house prices in Malaysia; but the trial run will train you to share your resources and get used to the idea of joint ownership.
It’s definitely a big leap from a Go-Pro to a Condo but the fundamentals are the same – how good are you at sharing?
4. Start Saving For Big Things Together
Future married life will surely bring with it a host of joint purchases such as home furnishings or even paying for the wedding! It is important that you consider this a team effort and save for it together.
Start with a small sum put aside every month even if it is not in the same account. By the end of set period – check your total sums and see how much closer you are to your goal.
Each person needs to be disciplined and responsible enough to save their share so you both can reap the rewards later on.
5. Take Turns Picking up the Bill
The discussion on whether or not a man or woman should pay during dates have often come up. Unless one party decides to be a stay-at-home parent; the issue of paying for bills and meals will fall on both spouses to pay; even if not in equal shares.
Take turns to pay or set a system that enables you to know ‘who’s turn it is’. This isn’t meant to be rigid and calculating but to aid in the payment of bills by each party diligently later on.
Getting used to the idea of sharing expenses will make the shift much easier when you are sharing a household.
Are you getting ready for marriage? Let us know if you have any tips for couple finances too in the comments!