My marriage is not perfect in any way, but when it comes to finances, I think my husband and I are pretty good at that part of our marriage. Money is not everything, but it sure is important. The number one thing that most couples argue about is money. That’s why it’s important to work together to find a way to be financially successful as a couple.
I’m often asked questions about how Kevin and I have been successful at saving money and planning for our retirement. I never know exactly how to explain it to people. I have a hard time explaining all the technical terms and details. That’s why I asked Kevin to write a special post for me about all the basic things you need to know about retirement planning. He’s explaining what accounts you should have, how much money you should save, and where to invest. Read more
Before I met my husband, I would have to say that I wasn’t always very financially responsible. In college, I had taken out a large amount of student loans to pay for my last 3 years of school. I always worked hard and had jobs, but I didn’t save a dime. I spent all my money on going out with friends and shopping for new party outfits. When I graduated I had about $10 in my bank account and about $70,000 in student loan debt. My husband was the complete opposite of me. He was very responsible with his money, even as a college student. He had a plan for his future and he also graduated college with zero debt. It’s a blessing that I ended up with someone like him because I don’t know where I would be with money if I married someone like myself.
Over the last 8 years, we have worked together to create a pretty financially successful marriage. We haven’t always made the income we do now, so we have had to make a lot of sacrifices in our first years of marriage, but our sacrifices don’t seem that big in the long run. Because of our dedication to saving and living our lives on a budget, I have never needed to worry about not having enough money to pay a bill, I’ve never had to worry about having an unexpected expense come up, and I have never had to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s not always easy for couples to manage their money successfully together, so that’s why I wanted to share 5 tips that have helped us become financially successful in our marriage.
1.) Make a plan together
Before we got married, Kevin and I talked a lot about our money. Our number one priority was to pay off my student loans. Kevin always explained to me that we would never get ahead and save for our future with that kind of debt hanging over our heads. I agreed, and we both worked extremely hard to pay them off as quickly as we could. (You can read all about that story HERE.) Once the loans were out of the picture, we started saving as much as we could to catch up on lost time. We both understand that the younger you are when you save, the more money you will have in the future. Our plans are for me to stop working, hopefully, this year, and for Kevin to retire at 55. We want to have financial freedom in our future and saving your money is the only way to achieve that. We are always re-evaluating our plan to make sure we are on track, but we still stick to the basic plan that we made at the very beginning of our relationship.
2.) Be completely open and honest about all your spending
This one was hard for me at first. I didn’t want Kevin to know about every purchase I made, especially when I bought another new pair of shoes, but I quickly learned that honesty is always the best policy. Hiding your spending will only cause fights and a lack of trust in your relationship. You will never be able to work together if you can’t be honest with each other.
3.) Share a bank account
I know that a lot of couples don’t share bank accounts in this day and age and that works for them, but I personally think that it’s best to share a bank account. This just makes everything easier. I feel like you can’t work together on your plan if you can’t combined your finances. It’s important that you both know what is going on with your money.
4.) Assign one person to be in charge of the finances
Obviously in our marriage, Kevin is the one who is in charge of all our accounts. He pays all the bills and moves the money around when needed. I have all the information to all our accounts and he’s very good at sharing with me where our money is or if he’s moving it around or investing in something. He always asks me what I think before making a major move in our accounts. I would never make a major purchase without talking it over with him first and he does the same for me.
5.) Talk about money
It’s good to talk about money in your marriage. A lot of times people don’t want to talk about money. Obviously you don’t want to go around telling everyone you know how much money you make or save, but between spouses, it’s good to talk about it. It keeps it out in the open and helps you both understand where you are at with your financial goals.