Newlywed Planning for a Better Financial Future
September 23rd, 2013
Entering the newlywed planning stage is incredibly exciting. Sure, there are dresses and tuxedos, cakes and wedding registries, but more importantly, you are starting your life with someone you love. And you want that life to be as comfortable and “successful” as possible. That’s why finances should play a key part in your newlywed planning.
When many of us get married, we’re young and we haven’t always made the best financial choices. We may be entering the relationship with debt and a less-than-desirable credit score. There are a few things that can add up, and if you can take care of them during the newlywed planning stage, you will be able to reduce later stress in the marriage and put it on a good trajectory for financial security.
Here are a few simple things you can do early on in your marriage to put financial worries to bed and start your relationship off on the right track.
1. Take Care of Little Fines
Little fines that you might have incurred may not seem like a big deal, but they can turn into serious problems pretty quickly. Things like library fines and parking tickets may be quite small to begin with, but if they get turned over to collections (which is happening more and more frequently), then they can suddenly become a much bigger issue. Not only does the amount of money you owe grow considerably, but just having them go to collections can impact your credit rating by a huge amount. Remember, your credit rating will soon be linked to your spouse, too, so protecting it now puts you both in a better position later.
2. Review Your Credit Reports
Speaking of credit scores, you and your future spouse should both take a look at your credit reports. Ideally, you should look at them together to figure out where you’re at financially. At some point, you will likely want to buy a home or vehicle or even start a business, making now the time to identify any problems in your credit history and start fixing them. If you’re not aware of the problem, it will be a lot harder to do what you need to in order to fix it.
3. Pay Down Credit Cards
Making minimum payments on your credit cards may seem like a good idea, especially when newlywed planning includes so many additional expenses, but now is actually a great time to start paying down balances. If you’re paying only the minimum, it’s likely that it will take more than a decade to pay off the balance, and that’s if you’re not charging anything new. By paying extra toward the bill each month, you are reducing the amount of debt that will be in the marriage, not to mention that you will also save you and your spouse thousands of dollars in interest over the next several years.
4. See a Prenuptial Attorney
While having an attorney in the mix may not be the most romantic part of the newlywed planning experience, it can actually save your marriage down the road. This person can help direct you when it comes to financial matters and may even recommend considering a prenuptial agreement. These documents are not just for the rich and famous, but instead, they can help average people set out a clear plan for dealing with finances during the marriage so money doesn’t become an issue that breaks the couple apart later on.