3 Common Questions From Newlyweds
Behold, wedding season is officially upon us, and as we are booking tickets to our friends' (or our own!) weddings, I wanted to talk about some common questions that we hear from newlyweds when working with our team.
We've talked before about the differences we often see between spouses - spenders vs. savers, one who carries some debt where the other does not, etc. Whether it's questions of merging assets, learning how to compromise and do things jointly, or making sure that credit card debt doesn't lead to divorce, these are some common questions we receive.
1. My spouse has a small amount of credit card debt, and some student loans. I am fortunate to be in a good financial situational with little debt. We handle basic expenses together, but should I help him/her with that debt? The main thing to determine as a couple is how involved you want to be with each other's finances. It's not completely heartless to let the other spouse work through their own debt, as long as they have a plan to pay it down and you're both able to keep your head above water.
Now that you are married, you must remember that you've become a team, and if one member of that team is struggling, it's your duty to make sure that the household doesn't fall apart financially as a result. In turn, if one or both credit scores are poor, getting loans or mortgages in the future could be difficult. If you need to dip into your savings to make sure the other is able to keep their credit up, then that's what love is all about.
2. We are looking at buying our first house together. What are some quick suggestions?
Most importantly, have an emergency savings fund separate from you down payment. Unexpected expenses always come up in the first couple years of homeownership, especially if you're buying an older home. Make as big a down payment as you can, but don't totally deplete savings to make the purchase.
Also, be sure to talk to a real person to get a mortgage. The laws and mortgage programs are constantly changing, and having someone work with you to find the best option is important. Take your time, and don't rush. With inventory quickly changing hands, it can feel like you have to make an offer as soon as you've seen the house. Be careful not to let emotions into the purchase, or you risk getting stuck with something you liked for a fleeting second and paid too much for.
Lastly, remember that it's your first house, and you should be able to grow with it and perhaps eventually out of it. Don't let a payment hold you down because you got too excited or insisted on buying more home than you can really afford.
3. What is the best way to start talking about money with my spouse?
We talk about budgets all the time, but be more creative and try to actually stay away from that word, as it makes some people cringe. After meeting with couples, we send them home with a checklist, a bunch of facts, and a load of information. We try to give the best facts and advice to newlyweds, but it's ultimately up to them to decide how they go about setting up their financial life together. Most of the times, it's best to treat the talk like you would any regular conversation. Be supportive, work together towards solutions, and be empathetic. If you carry those principles throughout your marriage, you will have a fun and fulfilling life together.
Are you, or is someone you know getting married this year? Introduce us so we can sit down with them and see how our team might be able to help them get started. And be sure to check out the Tying the Knot planning package on FeeForPlan.com.