For Richer or Poorer. Saving for wedded bliss.

Wedding Rings, for richer or poorer.,

Investing

Julie Hutchison

2nd July 2013 at 5:53pm

There’s a lot of truth in that. In fact money, as many lawyers will tell you, can be a major cause of marital disharmony and ultimately, breakups.

Whether the issue is who’s spending what, who’s earning what, debt or personality type (spenders vs savers) financial issues can bring storm clouds to an otherwise sunny relationship.

“The secret of success in marriage is start as you mean to go on.”

But amid all the excitement of planning a wedding, the importance of money is often forgotten.

So if you’re planning a wedding, or you have a son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter who is about to tie the knot, take a few minutes to read our 5 helpful hints for financial wedded bliss.

Or share this article to the wannabee happy couple.

1. Get married. Start saving.

Just before I was due to get married, a wise old Aunt took me aside and whispered some sage advice: “The secret of success in marriage is start as you mean to go on.”

The same is true with savings.

Having an emergency fund to fall back on will make you feel good, give you a sense of freedom and help you to sleep better at night. So start the way you mean to go on.

Decide together to set up a regular savings plan and aim to build up a fund that’s at least equivalent to 6 months worth of outgoings.

Once you’ve established the savings habit, you can consider saving for other things, like children, holidays and that all-important retirement nest egg.

2. It’s not your money, it’s ours.

Once you get married, your money is no longer your own.

It may seem an obvious thing to say, but once you get married, your money is no longer your own.  Understanding that is a massive step in the direction of marital harmony.

Treating the family money as ours, not mine, means both parties are much more likely to discuss any spending in advance, so everyone will know where the money is going.  Good communication and regular discussion is key.

Top tip: Every couple is different, but a good compromise is to set up one account for all your shared expenses (mortgage, council tax, household bills, etc), then open a separate account each for your own personal money.

That way, you won’t be arguing over who spent how much on what.

3. Make a will.

You might think it’s too early or too morbid to start thinking about this kind of thing, but having a Will gives you real peace of mind and the process of making one can help you and your spouse focus on some important financial decisions, like making sure you have each other’s names as beneficiaries on documents such as life assurance and pension policies.

A Will is even more important if you have or are planning to have children.

And, although this sounds obvious, make sure you both know where the Will and other important documents are filed. Find out more information on making a Will.

4. Tackle debt before you tie the knot.

Princess Diana famously said there were three people in her marriage.  Having debt in a marriage can be just as problematic.  So it’s vital to talk to each other about any debts you have, preferably before the big day!

As already mentioned, once you’re married, it’s not your money, it’s our money, so debt can be a big issue.  As with all financial issues, good communication is vital to a successful outcome, so discuss any debts together and decide together how you’re going to tackle it.

List the debts, create a plan for repaying it as quickly as possible and incorporate that plan in your budget (funnily enough, that’s the next item).

Top tip: There’s lots of in-depth help and advice online, but for more serious debt problems, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau offers a range of help and advice options.

5. Make a budget. And stick to it.

A budget is a great way, some would say the only way, to keep your finances on the straight and narrow.   Invariably, one partner has a better financial brain than the other, but that doesn’t let the other half off the hook. You’ll have a much better chance of creating a successful budget if you discuss and plan it together.  That’s the easy bit.  Now “all” you have to do is stick to it! A process that’s also much more do-able if you get together to discuss and review your budget regularly.

Top tip: There are lots of good online tools to help you budget. Try this one the moneysavingexpert.com site.

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