As we start the month of June, wedding season is upon us. June tends to be a wedding haven due to its mild weather, yes mild, and long days. If you or someone you know will be getting married soon, keep these 5 tips in mind when navigating finances as a couple:
Communicate often. A lot of times tension over money stems from poor communication. Even if there is enough money to support the household, if goals and priorities for finances are not communicated effectively between partners, tensions can rise. Each couple discusses money differently, but at the beginning of a relationship, consider sitting down and discussing a budget, habits, and goals. Then work together to see how these goals fit into the household's budget.
Start an emergency fund. It may not seem like it at the time, but life goes fast, and life 'happens' fast. Meaning that unexpected events do arise, and they can be costly. Preparing in advance for the unexpected with an emergency fund is a great way to help cushion your pocketbook. Generally, households should have 3-6 months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund to cover the unknown.
Debt management. Each individually will feel slightly different about debt. Some people would like to move through life with no debt, some would like to leverage debt to borrow at low rates and invest for higher potential returns, and some individuals don't let debt bother them at all, regardless of the cost. Having a conversation with your partner on where they stand on this continuum, and how the household will collectively navigate debt and debt repayment, is an important action post-wedding.
To combine or not combine, that is the question. Just like there is a continuum for debt repayment, there is also a continuum of whether or not to combine finances. A conversation is warranted as to whether or not accounts will be joint or individual, and who will be responsible for payment of bills and/or contributions toward goals.
Save for your future! Future goals are the foundation of financial planning, and is what West Financial Advisors work to help you achieve. Whether this is a short-term goal of a home/car purchase, intermediate goal of college funding, a long-term goal of retirement, or anything in-between, discussing your goals with a trusted advisor can help you start the next chapter of your life on the right foot.
If you or someone you know would benefit from discussing post-wedding financial planning, contact West Financial Advisors to schedule a free consultation!