5 Steps to Marital Money Bliss

Photo (cc) by pengrin™

If you’re heading down the aisle, we have some scary statistics for you. Nearly 30 percent of married couples say money is the No. 1 source of stress in their relationship, according to a study by American Express, and money issues are largely blamed as a top cause of divorce by many experts.

How do you avoid the strain? In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains how to get on the same financial track as your partner before you wed. Check it out, then read on for more tips and details.

Now, let’s expand on Stacy’s pre-wedding advice.

1. Look for red flags

Look for thoughts or actions on your partner’s part that may not mesh well with your own. Does your partner make big purchases on payday rather than put money in a savings account? Does he forget to pay the bills on time? Everyone makes money mistakes, but a pattern of behavior isn’t going to change just because you tie the knot. Pay attention, and talk about your concerns.

2. Discuss your money habits

Only 43 percent of couples talk about money before marriage, according to American Express. That’s sad, because talking openly about finances is one of the best things you can do for your relationship and future married life. Set a time to sit down and have that discussion. Here’s some fodder for that conversation:

  • How do you view money? Some people see money as a means to reach goals. Other people see it as a way to pay the bills and have a good time. You’ll want to be on the same page with this one.
  • What debts do you have? You don’t want to find out your partner has a huge load of debt after the wedding ceremony. Perhaps they’re student loans or maybe the result of childish irresponsibility. What is your partner’s plan to pay them off? Is that plan realistic?
  • What is your credit score? It might feel strange to ask, but you should know your partner’s credit score. If you plan to buy a house, take on new joint credit cards, or get other loans together, a bad credit score will mean you pay higher interest rates.
  • What are your future money plans? Do you plan on making a big purchase soon? Do you have other savings goals? Are you serious about setting aside money for retirement? How much have you saved?

3. Set goals

Merging lives and money means merging goals. Before you get married, you and your partner should come up with a few financial goals you both want to achieve. Some things to consider:

  • What are our goals? Whether you want to buy a house, save for retirement, get a new car, or take a two-week vacation every year, having mutual goals keeps you working together and gives you both something to look forward to.
  • What’s the time frame? You’ve both figured out you want to buy your own home. But what if you want a house in the next year and your future spouse is fine with making the move in, perhaps, five years? Agreeing on a timetable has obvious benefits.
  • What is my part? Set clear actions for both parties to reach your goals. For example, if you make more money than your partner, maybe you’ll feel comfortable contributing more to your goals.

4. Make a plan

Sixty-six percent of survey respondents told American Express they share all monthly expenses, and 34 percent divide up their monthly bills based on factors like income. How do you plan to pay the bills?

Before you say “I do,” set up a household budget and decide who will pay for what. Deciding what is fair in your relationship ahead of time will cut down on arguments and stress later on.

5. Take a test-drive with your wedding plans

Remember when Monica and Chandler got married on “Friends”? Monica thought her parents would pay for her huge dream wedding, but when they didn’t, we found out Chandler had enough money in savings to cover the expense. By today’s standards that would be $28,427 on average, according to The Knot. In the end, Monica and Chandler decided to scale back and save some of that money for their future goals – a true sign of financial compatibility.

Consider the wedding as a way to test-drive managing money with your future spouse. Keep your partner involved in the planning and make big and small purchases together. If you can learn to agree on costs, you’re well on your way to managing money as a couple.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart
8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart

Are you aware of all these ways to boost your savings in Walmart stores and at Walmart.com?

5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years
5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years

Even if you’re behind in preparing for retirement, there’s still a way to pull together a solid nest egg if you focus.

How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home
13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room of Your Home

Get your household organized with these brilliant and inexpensive tricks.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.