by Maurie Backman | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Aug. 8, 2019
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Now that you've tied the knot, it's time to get serious about your finances.Image source: Getty Images.
Getting married often means making not only lifestyle adjustments, but financial adjustments as well. If you recently tied the knot, carve out some time early on in your marriage to tackle these important money matters.
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Now that you and your spouse are combining finances, it's crucial that you sync up on how to spend your money. Doing so could help you not only avoid financial problems, but also marital issues.
To this end, it will help to set up a budget that maps out your monthly expenses. Once you see how much you're spending on essentials like housing, transportation, and healthcare, you'll have a better sense of how much you and your spouse -- individually and jointly -- can afford to spend on discretionary items, like apparel, gadgets, leisure, and restaurants.
Just as importantly, you'll have the framework for open conversations about money. For example, you might find that based on your joint income and essential bills, you and your spouse are left with $1,000 per month to spend as you please. If you're eager to save a large chunk of that sum, speak up about it, and come to an arrangement that works well for both of you.
Maybe you want to buy a house in the next two years. But your spouse is more keen on starting to build a nest egg for retirement. Hearing out each other's financial goals will better position you to support and achieve them, so once you have your budget in place, put a few goals in writing and see what it takes to pull them off.
When you're starting a life together, the last thing you want to think about is someone's untimely death. But if you and your spouse are planning to make financial decisions based on your joint income, then it's imperative that you both buy life insurance to protect one another from money issues in the event that one of you passes.
For example, if you and your spouse buy a home together, but then one of you passes unexpectedly, the other may not manage to afford that property in the absence of a second income. A life insurance payout could therefore help in that regard, which is why it pays to get a policy. And if you and your spouse are relatively young and healthy, you may find that your premiums are far more affordable than expected.
A large unplanned bill could put a strain on not just your finances, but your relationship. But if you build some emergency savings, you'll have cash reserves to tap when unanticipated expenses arise, thereby preventing you and your spouse from having to rack up debt.
Ideally, your emergency fund should contain enough money to cover three to six months of essential living expenses. It should also take priority over all other financial goals you and your spouse have. Once you have that cushion in the bank, you'll be able to rest easy knowing that if an emergency strikes, you're prepared.
As you embark on an exciting new chapter of life, be sure to make time for these essential money moves. Doing so could help you avoid a world of stress that so many other couples experience.
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