Getting married is an exciting new adventure for young couples who are in love. You get to bond and create memories as you learn how to live together and share your everyday lives. Part of forming a healthy and lasting marriage is to have an open and honest conversation about finances and your goals for the future. Financial planning discussions do not need to be painful and full of arguments as there are plenty of tools you can use to make your future successful.
Debt and Budget Spreadsheet
In order to start planning for the future, you need to have a clear understanding of how much money you have and where it comes from, how much money you owe in debt, and how much money you have available to spend on the things you need to get by. Start by creating spreadsheets on your computer, or do it the old-fashioned way with a pencil and grid paper. Document all of your income each month and determine when and where it comes from. After this, be honest with each other and accurately document all of the bills you pay each month or should be paying each month. Subtract your monthly debts from your income and this will tell you how much money you have to spend on everything you need and start a savings account with.
Many young couples find themselves buried in a pile of debt from student loans and high-interest credit cards. If you and your partner fall into this category, have no fear as there is help available. Go online and check out how to consolidate your student debt with different government agencies and debt relief providers. Some of your student loan debt could be forgiven and you can work toward lowering your payments. There is also help available if you have a credit card that needs to be paid off. Look for personal loans that allow you to consolidate your debt and take advantage of lower interest rates.
Plan Spending and Savings
Create a monthly spending and savings plan with your spouse so that there are no surprises when you look at your bank statement. A healthy relationship is dependent on open communication and there should never be any secret spending. You and your partner should have a clear understanding of what you can spend each month on things that you want and need, and keep track of your spending through the month. Use your budget spreadsheet to subtract out the money you spend. It is also recommended that you have at least six months of emergency money in your savings account in case of job loss and other unplanned events. Start out saving small amounts of money and add more as your income grows.
Make it a priority to sit down with your new spouse and plan out your financial future. Figure out how much money you have, how much you owe on various debts, and how much you have to spend. Find resources to help you get organized and reap the rewards of living a comfortable life.