Greater Regional Manager Kevin Buckley is also resident finance expert for the beautiful wedding magazine White. In the latest edition (out now) he shares some tips on what couples can do to make the most of their finances when their opinions may not line up.
Married life can be quite a change in some areas – especially budgeting. Things can get tricky if you’ve both been used to managing your own finances and suddenly you discover she’s a saver and he’s a spender, or vice versa.
Just like other big issues such as whether you think you want kids, I would hope that before you walk down the aisle you have also talked about your respective attitudes to money (organising the wedding may well give an indication as to your partner’s views on spending money). Do you know if your partner wants to own a house, have kids or take lots of holidays?
Let’s say you have talked through the issue of money and, despite having different financial goals and spending habits, you still want to tie the knot. Or, you have never talked money and suddenly realise you are poles apart. What now?
Firstly, decide if you will have joint finances or have separate accounts and contribute agreed amounts towards common household expenses. If you choose to have joint finances recognise where each person stands on the spending and saving front and the rules for accessing funds.
One practical way to do this is to create a budget. In one column, list all your income sources. Next, list all your expenses. Start with mortgage repayments, food, utility bills, and transport expenses. That will let you know how much you have left over for the fun stuff.
If one partner thinks “it looks fantastic, let’s put it on plastic” you may agree to not have credit cards or set limits and review statements together.
What if she thinks shoes are important and he thinks a night out with the boys is? One solution is to give each person an allowance to spend on their own luxuries each month. If you overspend one week, take that amount out of next week’s pay to get back into the black.
The reality is that if you are renting and want to eventually own your own place or start a family, the other budget item must be “saving”.
Talk through what you want early in the relationship or as soon as your views start to change. Open and honest communication is the key to a successful marriage. So is compromise. You are now a couple, not just two individuals. Be realistic. You won’t always get exactly what you want.
If things start to get tough, go back to your goals and budget. If you encounter financial difficulties seek professional financial advice – from your financial institution or a financial counsellor or adviser.