Our friend Good Nelly wrote this amazing article for us. We have been married for about 3 and a half years now, and we have been blessed with a relationship where open communication about any and all matters flows easily. I can remember having conversations about almost all of the topics that Good Nelly talks about in this article before Mr. RRR and I got married. Communication is the key to success in marriage, so make notes on these topics and be sure you are having these important conversations with your spouse or fiance before you’re forced to out of necessity.
Without further ado, here is Good Nelly’s article!
“Marriage is a form of discipline involving two people committing to a certain lifestyle and set of boundaries. – David Khalil“
When you are stepping into the married life, both you and your spouse will merge your personal lives together. You have to make spaces for his/her choices, likes, dislikes, family, and also pets. But you don’t know that you may also have to adapt to his/her debts. In general, out of 10 individuals, 7 people have debt before marriage. But it is also important that 3 out of 10 people also face debt after marriage.
Apart from that, once you are married, you might think that all of your monthly expenses will also be shared between you two. This may include the house rent, phone bills, utility bills, car loan, credit card bills, gas, etc. You may think it’ll be easier to manage these expenses by joining both of your income.
But, have you ever thought of the unexpected financial issues that may create problems in your marriage? What would you do if these issues kick you deeper in debt?
Here are a few marriage mistakes that can create huge debt problems in your married life and make you totally beaten. You should keep these things in your mind even after you’re married for a long time.
The great marriages are partnerships. It can’t be a great marriage without being a partnership. – Helen Mirren
Problem 1 – The wedding plan
Think about the wedding plans! The cost of the wedding is quite a headache for the new couples these days. An average wedding debt is nearly over $25,000, can you believe it! It’s too much pricey for just a few hours of celebration. So, if you also have a plan to spend too much for your wedding, I’m afraid, you might also face a heavy debt load very soon.
You can cut off the cost of the wedding by planning a custom budget as per the location, the number of people invited, transportation, food expenses, and more. If you haven’t made plans for your wedding, you can hire a wedding planner and ask him/her to plan a wedding as per your given budget.
If you feel that spending too much for the wedding doesn’t match your affordability, then you can plan an adventurous honeymoon for your new life partner. You may even use your money to buy a brand new car, a new boat, or to buy a vacation house for your spouse. As per my opinion, you can also use the money for retirement savings or consolidating your credit card debts. But, you should discuss the matter with your partner before making any decision.
Problem 2 – The engagement rings
Believe it or not, buying a decent engagement ring is a big deal. The engagement ring is meant for expressing your commitment to your spouse. But many people use the engagement ring to symbolize their financial status.
Ask yourself, what do you want to showcase more, is it your money or your eternal love towards your life partner? I am sure you would choose “love”. If that is what you really meant, your love remains the same for your spouse, even if you give him/her a silver ring instead of a diamond or platinum.
The average price of an engagement ring is approximately $5,000. But you might get a decent one by spending as little as $1,000. Now you decide, do you want to increase your credit card debt by purchasing a costly ring, or you’ll go for a less pricey one? The choice is yours.
If you don’t want to buy a costly engagement ring, you should discuss the matter with your spouse. Make sure you both can agree at some point. Instead of a costly diamond ring, you can arrange an antique ring or use your grandparents’ ring (as a family tradition). Don’t let the ring to ruin your relationship and even your bank balance.
Problem 3 – Money discussions
You know what! Debt and marriage problems can become a headache if you avoid sharing your money related crisis. You should discuss them with your partner as soon as possible. That’s the best solution you have in the first place. If you avoid talking about money matters, you’ll never reach to any point where you both can agree on any financial issue.
As per Country Financial, 40% of couples said they didn’t discuss money matters with their partner before getting married.
Money matter creates a gap in relationships. If you are facing such an issue, it is possible that soon you’ll find yourself bitter and tired of your relationship. The consequences are horrible. You might get depressed and lonely , followed by the divorce. And guess what? You won’t imagine, in many cases, couples become obsessed with drugs, an unhealthy diet, too much alcohol consumption, and most dangerously…become a sex addict. We all know these addictions need a lot of money to fulfill. Gradually, couples fall into debt without knowing it.
Getting divorced is one of the main reasons why people get into debt. So, is it fair to talk more with your spouse regarding every financial aspect possible? I guess it’s fair enough.
It’s important to tell your partner how you feel about money, how you want to save, and what goals you’re saving for. Make sure you listen to your partner’s thoughts on these points, too. Once you open the lines of communication, you’ll be able to collaborate on how you want money to be saved and spent.
“A marriage doesn’t have to be perfect, but you can be perfect for each other. – Jessica Simpson”
Problem 4 – Joint bank accounts
Most of the people may advise you to join your bank accounts as soon as you tie your knots. If you do so, you might be stepping into a trap. What will happen to your finances if both of you have different mindset on money matters? You might desperately encourage future savings and your partner might lead his/her life as a notorious shopper. Sounds like a nightmare…isn’t it?
The funds in your savings account will never reach the target, whereas you might get a bunch of credit card bills piled over at your table. So, basically, there’s a risk of falling into debt if you join your personal bank accounts.
In this situation, married people should never join their own personal accounts; instead, they should maintain a separate joint account with limited funds. You can use this account to pay your joint liabilities like monthly utility bills. Talk to your partner about this without feeling guilty. Make him/her realize that you both should maintain your individuality. You should both agree on this topic and grow your funds together.
Problem 5 – Emergency fund
Life is unpredictable. After your marriage you might be spending money to build assets, purchase stocks, bonds, or may be saving for the retirement fund. While doing this, if both of you ignore creating an emergency fund, it’ll cause you a big harm later. Now think about a situation, what will happen if you encounter a sudden car accident? What will you do if your house gets wrecked by some natural disaster? Can you manage enough money to meet that crisis?
Not having enough money to pay for huge expenses might put you into debt problems. This is one of the major marriage mistakes that can create huge debt problems in your married life. If you use your credit cards or take out a personal loan to manage these situations, it would increase your debt burden as well as put a huge strain on your marriage. So, to handle this situation, talk to your spouse and decide who will be taking the charge and put away a part of both of your paychecks for emergencies.
Problem 6 – Financial infidelity
Now, check out these situations first…
Sometimes you might spend a bit more to fulfill your hobbies or grab new clothes for parties by using your authorized credit card, given by your spouse. He/she might overlook the drill, but after so much impulse spending, you are still hiding it instead of feeling guilty.
You might have a personal loan that you may decide to pay off on your own. You might have unpaid credit card debts that you piled up in college. You are married now, but you still didn’t inform your partner about it.
You might be in a mood of gambling and want to spend a lot without even thinking a bit. Such issues need to be shared between you two. It might happen your impulse spending, old debts, and reckless spending patterns might hamper your partner’s life, and put him/her into knee-deep debt problem.
Never think that your spouse doesn’t have to know about these habits and your debts. Remember, once you are open with her/him about money, you need to keep everything clean and straight. Once you are married, your partner and you both should understand each other’s financial issues. Do whatever you can do to avoid falling into debt. Act quickly before it’s too late.
“Remember that creating a successful marriage is like farming: you have to start over again every morning. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.”