Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married – Part 2

by financialmom on June 10, 2010

in Marriage, Money

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Wow – my son’s wedding has really brought back the memories.  I could go on for a really long time on this topic, but here are some more highlights of things I really wish we had known before we got married!

Emergency Fund

I know I talk about emergency funds a lot.  And I will keep talking about emergency funds, until I start seeing adequate ones in the assets of families. If you don’t have savings for an emergency fund when you get married, please don’t spend all the cash you get for your wedding gifts.  Save some of it, at least $1000.00 to start your fund.

Then when your car breaks down, you won’t call your mom in shock because you have to pay for an  expensive repair (and your mom won’t have to clap her hand over her mouth so you won’t hear her laughing – not at you,  but because you seem to think you are the first person this has ever happened to).   These types of financial realities always come as a surprise to newlyweds.

Many couples think their credit cards will be their emergency fund.   Credit cards are never a good financial backup plan. When the amount on your credit card starts adding up, and you can’t pay the balance due in one month, you will really regret not having savings to cover life’s challenges.  Those surprises  will take a spending plan off track in a really big hurry if you don’t have an emergency fund.

The B***** Word

Yes, I mean the budget.  Call it the spending plan if that makes you feel better, and think about it as telling your money where to go. The idea here is you control your money, and your money does not control you.  One of the first things you need to do as a couple is to decide how your money is going to be saved, spent, invested, and given away.

Start your money conversations  before you get married, so any disagreements can be ironed out in advance. Then review your plan monthly, to see how you did compared to your plan. Make changes if you need to in areas where you are off.  It may take a few months of revisions to get to the real picture – be patient with each other.

One of the money areas where couples seem to disagree a lot is personal spending money. Write an amount of personal spending money for each of you into your monthly plan, so you both feel you have some money you can spend on whatever you want.   Problems occur when couples don’t do this, and then they argue when too much money seems to disappear.

Children

Having children is a massive life changer in many ways, including financial.  Young couples really don’t have a clue about how much children cost. From the diapers, to the formula, car seat, stroller, clothes, toys, you name it – it all costs money.   These costs can bust your budget.   Talk to some families with young children, and find out what their costs are, so you can adjust your spending plan.

Maybe you have decided to be a stay at home mom when your children are young, so you are now living on one income. This is definitely something you need to plan for carefully in advance.   And by in advance I mean when you make all your big financial decisions, such as buying a house.  If you plan to live on one income for a number of years, then don’t buy a house in which the monthly payment is dependent on both your incomes.

Invest Early

No one ever explained to us that if you start investing early on a regular basis, it doesn’t take large amounts to make a comfortable retirement fund. It’s true.  So once you have your emergency fund in place, and your debts paid off (with the exception of your house), start investing right away.  Make it a goal to invest 15% of your income for retirement.

Your biggest advantage right now is all the time your investments have to grow. And you won’t have to panic when you are in your 40′s or 50′s and you start thinking more seriously about retirement.  Of all the things we didn’t know, this one ranks near the top of the list.  I know you think it’s way too far off, and not so important right now.   Do it anyway – you will be so glad you did.

New Profile Pic 2599R Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married – Part 2Pamela Otten is CEO of Pamela Otten LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. She loves to work with women business owners and entrepreneurs, and women in transition due to job change, death, or divorce. Pamela will help you set and reach your financial goals, educate you to understand your investments, and teach you how to do more charitable giving. Pamela is a Qualified Kingdom Advisor (www.kingdomadvisors.org), trained and committed to integrating biblical principles with her investment advice.

cc smallest Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married – Part 2Photo Credit – Michael (mx5tx)

Financial Planning, Investment Advice, and Investment Management provided through Pamela Otten LLC, Registered Investment Advisor.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial advisor prior to investing.

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