“My money is my money, and your money is OUR money.” This mindset has a high potential of unsettling couples' beautiful relationships.
Before we dive deeper, you are probably reading this because you are married already or about to get married. And you are responsibly researching money management tips to aid a smooth ride in your journey as a couple.
So stay with me as I share tested tips alongside challenges you might face as you implement these tips and how to navigate them.
When it comes to money management, it's more of a habit than how much you earn. Some people make a lot but have no investment to show, while some average-earning individuals do very well for themselves.
Regardless of your earnings, the goal is to learn and implement these best ways to manage money such that when challenges arise for you both, you've set measures in place to keep your family afloat in the storm.
Now mind you, money can be a sensitive topic, and as such, I strongly advise you to have this conversation with your partner early in your relationship. Identify your money strengths. Discuss: who is more capable of economic budgeting? Who is more reckless with money? Do you want a joint and separate account? Or only a joint account? Or no joint accounts at all? Do you want to set up accounts for your children or emergency funds?
These are a few conversation starters you will need as you discuss these money management tips with your partner.
My goal is that by the time you've read this post, you are empowered to have a smooth money discussion with your partner while confidently taking charge of your finances.
Before sharing the tips, check out these mind-blowing statistics about money conflict in marriage.
Statistics on Money Conflicts in Marriage
I know you are here for money management tips, but it will amaze you how the lack thereof can be dangerous to the peace of a lovely marriage. These statistics should not scare you but solidify your decision to take charge of your money matters NOW!
- “54% of couples in marriage for five or fewer years took credit to cover some expenses in their wedding with 73% of them regretting the decision.” ~Renolon.
- “38% of Americans in a serious relationship identified money as the biggest stressor compared to 36% of married Americans” ~ Ally.
- “51% of millennial spouses have cheated each other on money matters compared to 41% of Generation Xers and 33 percent of the boomers.” ~ Creditcards.
- “43% of married Americans have undisclosed credit card debts.” – Survey by TD Bank, TD Stories.
- “Ninety-four percent of respondents who say they have a “great” marriage discuss their money dreams with their spouse, compared to only 45 percent of respondents who say their marriage is “okay” or “in crisis.” Eighty-seven percent of respondents who say their marriage is “great” also say they and their spouse work together to set long-term goals for their money.” ~ Renolon, Ramsey Solutions study.
READ MORE of these statistics here: 24 Eye-Opening Marriage and Money Statistics That Need to Know in 2021
Now to the tips.
Money Management Tips for Couples
- Start with the right money mindset:
If you've ever thought that your money is OUR money, you've reached the final point with that mindset, especially now that you want a better money management habit. Instead, see your monies as a partnership to a future of financial freedom, a future where you and your partner can rest while your children or loved ones won't have to struggle like you once did. This helps you become more responsible and see money as a tool for a better tomorrow rather than a ticket to live carelessly.
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- Set your couple's financial goals:
To set your financial goals, you both need to be plain with one another about your yearly commitments, including debts, financial responsibility to your families (if applicable), financial obligations for philanthropy, couple expenses (gifts, surprise packages, etc.), savings, monthly bill, children expenses (if applicable), miscellaneous, etc. After highlighting all your financial obligations, write down your income and yearly financial commitments, then set a monthly monetary goal to fulfill each commitment.
COUPLE YEARLY INCOME: $180,000
MONTHLY INCOME: $15,000
- Total Debt – $25,000
- Yearly extended family responsibility: $1,500
- Yearly couple expenses: $3,000
- Yearly children's expenses or future savings: $10,000
- Family savings: $15,000
- Yearly miscellaneous: $2,000
MONTHLY FINANCIAL PLAN
- Monthly Debt payment – $2,084
- Monthly Extended family responsibility savings: $125
- Monthly couple expenses savings: $250
- Monthly children's expenses savings: $834
- Monthly Family savings: $1,250
- Monthly miscellaneous savings: $167
- TOTAL: $4710
Based on the above income, you've only touched 33% of your monthly income with about $10,000 to account for monthly bills and other expenses as unique to your family.
Note: It is advisable by financial advisors to save 10-15% of your yearly income. With the above plan and combining both child and family savings, you have 13.8% in your annual savings.
Fun fact: The average American family is expected to save $6000 a year.
Replicate this with your reality and be determined to commit to your set goals.
Now that you've broken your financial goals into achievable monthly savings/payments, assign who will be the financial police to ensure you meet your goals. It might sound funny, but it's one thing to set goals and another to implement them. Know who is good with money and trust that person with implementation.
- Paying off existing debt:
Now that you've shared your debts with your partner and you've both come up with a repayment plan with the above analysis, it's time to start taking action by paying off those debts. If you don't get serious, you will have to clean the mess later on, so why not save yourself the stress? Yes, emergencies arise, but stay on course with paying your existing debts as much as you can.
- Joint & separate accounts:
The question of joint and separate accounts is trivial, and different methods work for each family. But, my rule of thumb is a 3-way street plus tax (winks). The first street is a joint account for family expenses and bills, and the second is a separate account for partner A while the third street is a different account for partner B. Finally, “the tax” is every other account, including respective savings accounts and emergency funds.
This method accommodates your family and individual financial freedom without straining either part. But, if your family feels great about a one-way street plus tax meaning one joint account and savings account, go for it. The goal is to stay committed to your financial obligations without putting a strain on your relationship.
- Intentional financial discussion:
Now that you have a system in place for your finances, revisit how well you are doing with meeting your goals. You can set up monthly financial discussions once in two months or quarterly as you see fit. In these conversations, discuss met goals, lapses, and how to fix them, other goals, completed goals, etc. If applicable, involve your children in these discussions, so they learn early the importance of being financially responsible.
- Account for emergencies:
Never forget the place of “miscellaneous” in your planning. And as you set goals for paying debts, savings, etc., set up a couple's emergency fund for unexpected circumstances. Doing this will save you from dipping into your savings when unexpected events arise.
LEARN HOW TO BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND: How To Build An Emergency Fund: Why You Need One & How To Fund It
- Budgeting for family expenses:
Beyond debts, there are monthly bills and expenses unique to your family. Set a budget for these expenses and account for them properly as you plan your yearly and monthly financial commitments. Likewise, leave space for miscellaneous. Check out these cool budgeting apps for married couples.
- Building a savings culture:
Yes, you may already have it in mind to save, but that's not enough. Make it a habit. Set up automated systems to make savings smooth. You can set up a plan with your bank to remove a specific percent monthly from your income into your savings account. If possible, work with a financial advisor or have a third party keep you accountable for your financial commitments.
- Planning for your future (retirement, etc.):
If you have specific goals for when you retire, like traveling the world, leaving a will for your children, owning an orphanage, etc., your retirement plan will differ from other couples who don't have these goals. With these goals in mind, you might need to be more stringent with your spending. Save more, and consider INVESTING early. So as you plan the now, think about the future and plan your finances accordingly.
- Tracking your money habits:
Several reliable apps keep you in check. As much as human resources are good, our phone buddies (apps, haha) can also be great tools. CHECK OUT THESE FINANCIAL TRACKING APPS
Yesssssss!!! You've learned so much already, and you are fired up to implement these money management tips, but hold on. As you are pumped to set your financial ball in motion, be aware that challenges will arise on your journey, but how you handle them matters.
Here are a few challenges to be aware of and how to tackle them.
- Be frugal with your wedding
Young couples often want to have a lavish wedding but end up being knee-deep in debt. It is a bad omen to start your marital journey with more debts than you can repay.
There are several ways you can keep your wedding costs down and still have a memorable wedding.
- Have a budget: Budgets keep your money in check and let you know what amount is for what. It also helps you not to overspend.
- Limit your invitations: Instead of a 500 guest list, you might want to go for a private occasion with just your close friends and family. This limits catering and location costs.
- Ask your skilled friends to assist: There are always people around us that can do a thing or two. You might have friends who are into photography, catering, baking, and decorating. You can ask your friends for their services instead of a wedding gift.
- DIYs where possible: If you can do it yourself, it is better than paying for the service. From arranging flowers to hall decorations and make-up, there are several things that you might be able to do for yourself.
- Rent a gown instead of buying one: The cost of renting is relatively cheaper than making or buying a wedding gown. You might have to spend a long time shopping before getting the perfect one, but you also save cost.
- Stay home instead of hotels for your honeymoon: You can also have your fairytale honeymoon at home instead of a week-long or month-long stay in a hotel. You can have deliveries or family members bring in food now and then.
- Limit traveling guests: For traveling guests, you may have to chip in for their transport and lodging. If you must have them at your wedding, you can consider virtually inviting them instead.
Related Post: 55 Simple Frugal Living Tips To Save Money In 2022
- Update legal documents
For most, when they get married, they change their names, and even if you do not, there are still some legal changes you will need to make.
You have to change your name in the appropriate places, change your beneficiaries, and update your will when applicable. This makes bank processes smoother, and you don’t have to worry about your money being stuck somewhere because the system can’t reconcile your changes.
Money Management Challenges and How to Tackle Them
- Your partner might not accept your money management vision immediately. We all grew up from different backgrounds. BE PATIENT. Help them see the reasons for your recommendation, lead by example, and pray for a fast mindset reset.
- If you have an impulsive buyer as a partner, you are in hot trouble if this isn't controlled. Sit your partner down, and have a heart-to-heart discussion about the negative impact of their action. If that doesn't work, get professional help for them because sometimes, being an impulsive buyer could be an impulsive behavior disorder. With the right help, you both can overcome this and set sail for financial freedom together!
- Another fatal challenge is using the wrong budgeting method. I gave you a sample method above, and I'm sure you will find many more online. In addition to your online research, I advise speaking with a reliable person at your bank or a financial advisor for professional counseling. I am here to guide you in the right direction because I want you to succeed financially. CHECK OUT THESE BUDGETING METHODS
- Fear is another bummer that could stop you in your tracks. It's natural sometimes to question if you can pay all your debts or manage all your monthly expenses, but remember, you lead your financial commitments, not the other way round! Find the root of your fear, address it, and keep the financial freedom flag flying!
- Finally, unexpected financial expenses happen, and they can be challenging. Even when you have an emergency fund, you might have to dip into your savings under certain circumstances. If you've done your best to be financially responsible and an unexpected event happens, it's okay. Utilize your financial discussion meetings to strategize and get back on track!
Final Thought: Money Management Tips
Having a financially healthy marriage is important because, to a large extent, financial happiness can be the stabilizing factor in your marriage.
Likewise, managing your finances is not easy, but I hope you achieve your money management goals and live in peace with the shared money management tips.
Which of these tips do you think will be the most helpful to you?
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.