Financial advice for newly-weds

A. Muscat, 4 Jun 2016

If you are reading this article chances are that you are either getting married soon or you just got married recently. In both cases "Congratulations!". As you may well know, the wedding itself is a huge financial commitment so in a way surviving the planning and preparation for your big day is already a great sign of your ability to deal with financial pressure as a couple. Following your wedding day we can suggest the following pieces of financial advice for you and your partner.

Do not hide from each other

Trust is one of the core values of a strong marriage. To make sure that you trust one another with money and avoid useless discussions. It is important to be honest and not hide from each other. Tell one another what your real financial situation is and do not hide any loans or savings from each other. Make sure that every euro that you spend is accounted for. This does not mean that you are not allowed to have a certain amount to spend however you want monthly, but it simply means that your other half should be aware of it. This is because the other person is expecting and planning ahead based on the money you both think you have. Discovering one fine day that there is money missing will only make the other person feel betrayed and start eating upon the trust that you built towards one another.

Set out your shared goals

Communication is key. It is important that as a couple you discuss both your life goals and also set common goals towards which you will invest both your money and time. This is not an easy exercise especially when sometimes you have not yet figured out your own goals in life. However, if your goals are not clearly laid out you may end up working against each other.

Think about the future, think about retirement

With the government pensions being relatively low, one needs to think about whether an additional retirement package is needed to be able to maintain the lifestyle we currently lead in the future. At some point we will have less energy and our ability to work and earn money will considerably be lower. The younger you are the easier it is to save up for retirement as you have a longer period to save up. The older you get the more imminent the problem will be and the higher the amount that you need to save monthly. Plan ahead!

Set up an emergency fund

An emergency fund is basically a savings account in which you put money each month and you only use in emergency cases. Emergency cases can be anything from having your car needing fixing to doing maintenance in the house. The important thing is to use this money only when it is really necessary. To try and safe keep this money as much as possible it is ideal to have it stacked away in another bank or an account which you cannot use easily. This will avoid temptation to use the account for more trivial expenses such as buying a new dress for each new wedding you are invited to this year. Of course this may be important to you but it is not an emergency.

Supporting your spouse is OK!

There may be periods when one of you may be more dependent on the other and that is totally reasonable. You are now a couple and you will be supporting each other through good and bad. So if your husband is planning to start studying again to better his career or your wife has decided to take some time off her work to be able to spend more time with the kids, it should not frustrate the other. Be supportive of each other’s decisions especially when these will benefit both of you in the long term. That study your husband wants to do will eventually get him a better paying job while having your wife dedicating so much of her time to your kids means that you have less pressure for performing parental duties and the kids can enjoy the perks of having a stay at home mum.

Spend quality time together

Time is precious! Find the time to talk to each other and see how your other half is really feeling. Make it a point to be open and receptive to each other as having a strong marriage is in itself saving you a lot of money. The reason for this is that a divorce is really expensive, not only in terms of legal fees but also because you need to rapidly change your lifestyle and housing.

I really hope that the above financial advice was useful and that you have a long happy married life together!

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