So you’ve finally moved in together and you’ve just finished unpacking all the boxes in your new home, now what? The one thing that nobody really educates young couples about is money management in marriage. Prior to getting married, in my culture anyway, the focus is on ‘how to train you to become a good wife/husband’. Rarely to do those conversations dabble on topics such as finances and money management- the nitty gritty. According to research, money is the number one cause for divorce these days. That’s a scary stat! I’ve yet to really understand why people are funny about money and why it is such a taboo subject. After all, what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is ours, right? However this is not always the case.
I’ve never been the greatest at budgeting, but I’d like to think that I have the right mindset when it comes to saving. After my husband and I moved in together, it became reality that we had new financial obligations that were now our priority. Going from living at home with our parents, baring minimal financial responsibilities, to becoming in charge of your own household overnight was a major switch. We now came to the realization that the money that was once allocated to other mindless things was simply going to be funnelled into our new responsibilities like rent, car payments, insurance, savings, etc.
What was very helpful for us, and still is, was being transparent with one another about money. This included sharing our personal financial goals and past hardships, which in turn helped us to get on the same page and figure out how we would manage our own household. Like my husband always says, the income of two goes further than that of one. Knowing what goals you want to reach together helps you to structure your life accordingly. You’re building for your future together not planning for it separately.
It’s important to decide very early on how your finances are going to be organized. For example, shared operational accounts, shared savings, separate accounts with a joint savings account, etc. Figure out what works for you and the level of transparency you’re comfortable with. Maybe you’re a reckless spender and you’re afraid to open up about that side of you. Or maybe you’re super frugal and don’t want to come across as cheap.
Whatever the case may be in your situation, it’s important to be honest about it. Call me old-fashioned I believe in the philosophy what once you’re married, all you have it put together and becomes “ours” vs “mine and yours”. I learned this from my parents at a young age and I admired their openness. I strongly believe that it builds trust and security.
I think that once you get in the habit of going 50/50 on everything, where do you draw the line? Are the bills split in half? Groceries? Travel? What happens when a baby is in the picture and one parent takes maternal or paternal leave, how will the financial responsibilities be divided then? The list goes on and on. I don’t want to feel like my husband is merely a roommate who I just happen to share the same last name with. I believe that this marriage endeavour is partnership in all aspects. There is comfort in knowing that no matter the hurdles life may throw at you that will test and try your relationship, you are going to go into battle together, for each other. You will find very little success if you’re in it for yourself and only looking out for your best interest.
A good friend once said to us that marriage is being comfortable walking back to back with your partner and not being able to see what’s going on behind you but trusting that they’ll keep you protected. Somehow you feel so safe that even without being able to see where you’re going from all angles, you know that your partner has got you covered from their side.
So even amid saving and being money conscious, don’t allow money to preoccupy your every thought or let it stop you from enjoying our hard work and reaping the rewards. My husband and I are avid travellers who enjoy going out for meals and experiencing new things. Saving money and having fun can be synonymous.