Budgeting in itself is quite a daunting task, not because of all the math’s and the economics, but of the impending fact that soon, you won’t be able to spend as freely on the stuff you like as you were previously able to. And the simple matter of fact is this: most people only agree to such a financial move only when their own finances are in a state of disarray; so, in a way, budgeting is a move usually done when something bad has happened and you found yourselves with little or no money.
But this need not always be the case: budgeting for newlyweds, for instance, is certainly done with a happy face. And so, comes our topic of discussion for today: budgeting for newlyweds and some financial tips for newlyweds.
The gaining of a life partner is something whose prospects are always good (at first, for some), be it social or economic. Two is better than one, and this is the exact thought with which financial planning for newlyweds is usually done. Hopefully, in an ideal condition, both of them will have a low amount of debt, good influx of disposable income and a considerable amount in the form of savings.
If the opposite is the case, well then, we can’t say much about a union like that. But whatever your financial standing before the holy matrimony, it is certainly and undoubtedly changed after you become plus one, and one that needs budgeting. Matter of fact, budgeting becomes essential, where even things previously undiscussed like how many kids, mortgage on the house and others become topics of prime importance.
So, in short, budgeting for newlyweds is important for several reasons. For one, now that your life is going to be majorly affected by the addition of another person (including your financial life), it becomes imperative to make some changes, focus on renewed goals and priorities and establish a ‘rainy-day’ fund that comes in handy when, well, it’s raining. So, without any further ado, let’s get into financial planning for newlyweds.
BUDGETING FOR NEWLYWEDS: A GUIDE to FAMILY FINANCE
Budgeting for newlyweds is a whole lot different than you would budget for yourself. Because now your financial lives are bound together and it is difficult to maintain separate finances, you’ll be looking at twice the cash flow, but also twice the expenses, all the while building towards a substantial savings for any future plans, that might include a kid, a house or other resource-intensive expenditures that you might partake later on. So, here are a few pointers to know and keep in mind while budgeting as newlyweds,
1. START BY DISCUSSING THE FINANCES
Its important to start your budgeting by discussing finances with your significant others. You can use this as a way to inform your spouse of something that got left out during the vows or your time together. For instance, if you have any financial issues or secrets that need to get out of the way before you can budget, take this time to clear the air on that issue, and discuss possible ways of dealing with the influx of money; either the both of you want to save it, invest it or make sure that the money you both save goes towards a nice holiday home in the Midwest.
This is one of the basic and the initial steps of budgeting for newlyweds; taking their time to talk through one another with their finances and their previous experiences with savings, expenditures and other facets of budgeting. Get to know what are your spouse’s ideas on saving for a house, or for a kid. This first step will tell you a lot about how you might want to proceed onwards with the budgeting part.
2. ASCERTAIN THE GOALS
Once you get to know the financial version of your significant other, use that information and your own financial fidelity to set up and ascertain goals. Build on what you think is suitable for your family that you’re now just starting. Use different models and budgeting approaches to draw out a balance between savings, expenditures and something set aside for the occasional dinner at a fancy place, or to simply spend on wants.
It may seem excessive for some of the tight-fisted readers, but for the smooth sailing of your marriage, sometimes, compromises need to be made, and these include financial compromises. It is also at this stage that you tackle the issue of debt, if either one of you has any. Make sure that among your goals is the paying off of loans, be they long or short-term.
3. DECIDE: GOING TOGETHER OR SOLO
Many newly-wed couples choose to go for a joint account, as this shows financial trust on one another, and also means that a larger pool of resources opens up for any financial endeavor either one of you wants to take. So, at this stage of your budgeting, you might want to start by deciding what sort of financial future do you plan: where a singular account is shared by the two of you, or do you still maintain separate accounts.
The way this discussion and decision goes will affect your future planning and your financial future as well. But don’t worry, this is not a permanent decision; if one of you, years down the road, wants to change his/her mind on maintaining separate or joint accounts, you can always do so. Banks are more than willing to oblige you with any such request.
4. HOW MUCH TO SAVE, WHAT TO DO WITH THE SAVINGS
With a family, your priority is always the well-being of your significant other, and if any, your children. As such, this type of planning requires that you save a lot of money for a rainy day, or even for any significant expenditure that might be in the works in the future. At this stage of budgeting for newlyweds, it’s important to ascertain two things; how much you want to save, and what is the purpose of savings.
There are many budgeting plans that can help you sort out the first part, the ‘how much to save’ part. There is the 50-20-30 ratio, which says that 50 per cent of the total income goes towards needs and current expenditures, 20 percent goes towards wants and expenditures that you want, and the 30 percent goes towards a savings account, be it a mattress in your guest bedroom or a savings account in the bank. You can either follow this or one of the many other budgeting plans that websites and the internet has to offer.
ALSO READ: How Much Money Is Enough Money?
Once you’ve done that, you will need to ensure that you both know, understand and are committed towards the eventuality of the expenditure of the savings. For instance, if your saved money is going towards a lease for a house, commercial property, or is even being stored for a 401(k), you need to stick to that and be in it with your heart.
A savings account means that money is put in there to be taken out for a rainy day or when the time presents itself. A major repair in your car or house, for instance, could be committed towards the savings account, but if your original intent was for a college fund for your children, you should not have to access that account.
5. UNDERSTAND NEEDS AND WANTS
There is a very basic and easy difference to understand between the two seemingly-alike terms. Many people confuse the two as the same, but ask any economist, these two are poles apart. A need is something whose non-availability will have a dire effect on your life, whereas a want is something whose availability will only serve to increase pleasure, and whose non-availability will not have a dire effect on your life.
understand it using this example: if your daily commute to and from work is around 30 minutes of walk, in that case, a car will become a want, whereas in the same instance where this time is doubled and the distance is increased, the same car will become a need. It’s easy to mix and confuse the two, but understanding this distinction will help you decide early on what you and your spouse’s needs and wants. And do keep in mind that priorities change, so needs will become wants and vice versa over time.