Congratulations! You’ve survived the chaos of planning your wedding and just got home from the honeymoon. You’ve moved into your first apartment together, and now you sit, happily gazing into each other’s eyes. You’re finally together – what else matters?
Apparently, a lot.
Many marriages fall apart over disagreements about children, religion, in-laws, and money. And according to Experian, 59% of divorcees say finances played a role in their decision to break up their marriage.
So, it’s important to start building a solid foundation now so that when you do experience financial disagreements or struggles later on, you’ll have a better chance of getting through them together.
4 pieces of financial advice for newlyweds
Here are four pieces of advice for newlyweds that can help you improve your money management skills in your marriage.
1. Be transparent
The first step toward financial security in a marriage is to be completely honest with each other. Talk about past experiences with finances. Be honest about times when you weren’t very smart with your money and talk about what types of debt you might currently have if you haven’t already.
It can also be helpful to talk about the financial rules you grew up with. For example:
- Did you receive an allowance?
- How old were you when you first started working?
- What did your parents teach you about how to manage your finances?
- What did you learn about saving?
- Are there any mistakes you or your parents made that you don’t want to repeat?
Then, talk about what your financial goals are for the future. For example, if you want to buy a house, discuss when and how much you want to save for a down payment. If you’re planning on having kids, talk about many and when you want to start trying (spoiler alert: having and raising kids is ridiculously expensive, so you’ll want to start preparing now).
Also, consider any other big goals you have, including:
- Continuing education
- Couples mission
Talk about your financial goals and continue to update the list throughout the years. My husband and I often talk about our financial goals for each year close to the date of our wedding anniversary.
We talk about what we achieved in the past year and set goals for what we’d like to achieve during the upcoming year. We talk about financial goals, physical goals, and spiritual goals. It helps us know how to support each other and accomplish our goals throughout the year.
When you can talk about money, you can talk about anything. – Dave Ramsey
2. Create a budget together
The most important financial advice for newlyweds is to create a budget. In my opinion, keeping a budget is similar to keeping the commandments. While it may seem like a restriction at the time, it actually helps you to be free.
Keeping the commandments can make you healthier, smarter, and more spiritually in tune. When you keep a budget, you’re able to see where your money is going and can decide how to make your money go where you want it to go.
When you’re a newlywed, you may not have as much income, especially if you’re both students. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to keep track of your finances. If anything, the developing the habit of living within your means is what matters most.
Sit down together and talk about how much income you expect to receive each month and how much you need to pay in bills. Make sure you add a tithing, savings, and a personal fun section to your budget along with your bills.
Then track your spending so that you can remain accountable to the budget you created together.
3. Work together as a team
Prophets have taught that men and women complement each other perfectly.
In the Lord’s plan, it takes two — a man and a woman — to form a whole. – Elder Richard G. Scott
So, when you get married, combine your bank accounts. You’re working towards becoming one, so your finances should become one as well. In marriage, your financial motto should be, “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours.”
When you bring home a paycheck, it’s not “your” money, it’s “our” money. Even if your spouse makes more money than you do, the money belongs to both of you.
This also includes taking on their debt as well. When you get married, “his” or “her” debt becomes “our” debt. Work together towards paying off debt and improving your finances.
If you are having trouble with this because one spouse is a spendthrift, work to resolve the problem together. If you need to, consider a marriage counselor who can help you come together.
4. Pay Your tithing
When you receive your paycheck, pay your tithing before you do anything else. Paying your tithing will grant numerous blessings in your life and marriage. It is a test of faith with eternal blessings.
I learned in serving almost 20 years as bishop and as stake president that an excellent insurance against divorce is the payment of tithing. Payment of tithing seems to facilitate keeping the spiritual battery charged in order to make it through the times when the spiritual generator has been idle or is not working. – James E. Faust
Read more about paying tithing:
You don’t know what you don’t know
If you’re struggling with finances, don’t beat yourselves up. Financial literacy is not a priority in U.S. schools, so you’ve probably learned everything on your own if not from your parents.
I also know many couples who have recently started taking the new self-reliance classes offered by the church at the stake level. These classes are designed to help you get back on your feet and gain better self-reliance.
Don’t let finance disagreements ruin your marriage. Work together to create unity, both in life and finances. That’s the best piece of advice for newlyweds that I can give.