The wedding ceremony is almost over and the new couple turns to face each other.
The officiant officially proclaims. “I now pronounce you a joint venture, you may kiss your business partner.” Romantic right?
This sounds far fetched, but many couples treat their new spouse like a joint venture instead of ‘becoming one’ financially speaking.
Becoming One Financially
If this thing called marriage is going to work, then you’ll need to merge your financial lives. This is going to take some trust and respect as you learn to talk about money.
Here are a few steps you can take to “become one” financially:
1. Change your mind set. ‘Your’ money is now ‘our money’. ‘Her’ debt is now ‘our’ debt. If someone is brining debt into the marriage, don’t hold it over their head. BOTH of you now owe the debt and BOTH of you will need to share the responsibility and stress of paying it off.
2. Add each other to ALL financial accounts: checking, savings, stocks, bonds, etc. No hidden side accounts “just in case”. Separate accounts signal lack of trust and commitment.
3. If you haven’t already disclosed all your income sources, assets, and debt, time to disclose and the sooner the better.
4. Get to know each other financially speaking. Here are some helpful questions to review on your next coffee date to spark discussion.
5. Make a budget together. This will ensure both of you have a vote in how to spend “our” money.
6. Share the Stress. Share any dealing with any collection calls and stressful negations. Husbands, this is a way you can really be a ‘Knight in Shining Armor’ for your new bride.
I realize some of these might be difficult to do, especially if you’ve been single a long time or getting remarried. A great marriage and financial life will be well worth working through these steps and tough conversations.
You and your spouse are on the same team, time to wear matching jerseys.
What have you done financially or relationally to ensure a great marriage?
Photo credit hans s via Creative Commons.