A banker offers his suggestions for couples.
Photo by Wendy Laurel; Planning & Design by Unveiled Hawaii
It’s often said that the most common cause of tension in a marriage is money. The problems can often be stemmed from being raised in different ways and having conflicting spending or saving habits. That’s why it’s important to get on the same page with each other before tying the knot – whether that means you’ll combine finances, keep things separate, or a combination of both. They might not be the most romantic conversations, but they’ll likely be the most helpful discussions you have in the long run.
To help get you started, Ken LaRoe, the founder of First GREEN Bank, offers three financial tips for married couples below:
Bare Your Debts
If you haven’t already, set aside some time to openly talk about how much debt each person is bringing into the marriage. A shocking 43% of people have no idea how much their partner earns each year. Coming clean about your finances – from annual earnings to assets and debt – is the first step in avoiding unforeseen financial hardships in the years to come.
Identify Your Priorities
Before tying the knot, it is always smart to have an honest conversation with your significant other about your financial priorities. One partner might think paying off student loans should be top of the list, while the other might think starting a family is just as important. Being on the same page with these financial goals will make tackling them that much easier.
Keep an Emergency Fund
The best financial rule of thumb for everyone, but especially couples sharing finances, would be to create an emergency safety fund. It is ideal to save six months’ worth of your household bills – unexpected and expensive circumstances are bound to come up throughout your marriage and you want to make sure you have financial security when an emergency arises.