Spring is the beginning of wedding season: the time when many couples get engaged and start planning for marriage. Having a “ring by spring” can be really exciting, and it’s easy to get caught up in all of the wedding planning. It’s so easy, in fact, that couples can overlook the importance of saving money for marriage.
Wedding costs have hit an all time high, according to a Real Weddings Study done by The Knot. Many couples dream of having a grand wedding, with the bride walking down the aisle with all the royal treatment, but not every girl has parents that are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Some exceed their budgets because they have little to no experience planning a wedding, while others do not realize the cost of a wedding and end up running over budget or unable to afford it.
Older generations did not have the expectations for big weddings; all they had was their love. Nowadays, couples need to talk about money, not only for the wedding, but also for their journey together as a married couple.
Marriage is not just the act of getting married, but the beginning of a commitment to someone. That commitment includes sharing financial responsibilities with one another. If you don’t know one another’s saving and spending habits, now is the time to learn.
Communication is essential in any relationship. “The ability to communicate with your partner in a completely open fashion about everything from intimacy to personal goals is the single most important element you and your partner can cultivate,” says Trent Hamm for U.S. News. “If you’re going to make a lifelong commitment to each other, you need to establish open and equal communication.”
Talking about money before marriage strengthens communication with your spouse, and helps you move toward a happy and fulfilling marriage. It is important to work together in forming a plan for your marriage. This doesn’t mean that couples have to know all the answers for the future, but it is important to work together and save money for marriage.
Over the course of your relationship, you’ve probably learned a lot about one another’s money handling strategies. One of you may be a saver; the other might be more of a spender. At first, it can be tricky to deal with your different money management styles. Saving money for marriage might have different meanings for the both of you. It is better to talk about your money personalities and how you can work together with them.
There are several money matters to discuss if you plan on saving money for marriage. You should talk about:
An emergency fund.
First thing you should work on as a couple is a plan for an emergency fund. At Couples Finances, this is called a Smart fund. This is money that you and your future spouse should set aside in case of an unexpected expense, a sudden job loss, or another emergency. That way, if a problem arises, you will have some back-up money to help you figure out your next step.
Where you see your futures selves.
On your tenth wedding anniversary, where do you see yourselves? Have you bought a house, or invested your money? How about on your twentieth anniversary? Do you have money for children and college? Asking these questions early on in your relationship allows you and your future spouse to set goals to save money for your marriage.
Your individual credit histories.
It’s important to look at both of your credit scores and credit histories. Combined credit might affect your ability to buy a house or take out a loan together. Share your financial histories with one another, so that as a couple you are able to understand your situation and work together to form solutions to debt issues.
Your student loan and credit card debts.
When you get married and your individual finances become shared, it’s important to understand what kinds of student loan debts you each may have acquired during college. Just like your credit histories, your individual debts will affect how you look at your money as a couple.
It’s also important to talk about credit card debts and any other debts you may have gained over time. Individual debt affects the way that couples address their shared finances. When couples get married, they become partners, and should have plans for how to tackle their problems together and find the best solutions.
Marriage season is an exciting time, but it’s also a season for saving your money. Just as your wedding will cost money, it also costs money to be married, so now is the time to form money-saving habits so you and your future spouse can continue to have a fulfilling relationship. When you save money for marriage, you and your spouse will be better equipped to solve any money issues that come your way, and more able to accomplish your money goals.