Here is some fun financial marriage advice- Imagine you just got your tax refund and it is bigger than you expected! You want to pay off the rest of your credit card debt, but your spouse wants to use the money to make home improvements. AHHH- or maybe the other way around! What should you do? How do you make a decision without an argument?
The best financial marriage advice answer: joint goals that you have both decided on and work together to achieve as a team. Goals make it easy to resolve minor short-term disputes. While the process of setting joint financial goals may be a bit challenging and may take more than one sit down session, it is sound marriage advice and can bring you closer together and will reduce tension over money.
Goals are defined in three categories: short-term (one year), medium-term (within 5 years), and long-term (over 5 years). To figure out your joint goals, sit down and talk about each of your own personal goals. It is likely that your spouse’s goals will be similar to yours, but you won’t know until you talk about it. Remember whether financial marriage advice or just good old fashion anytime marriage advice communication is KING! You’ll also need a little creativity and the willingness to cooperate. Remember to consider all joint goals, including vacations, career paths, home ownership, having children, paying for your child’s college, investing, charitable donations, savings, living frugally on one income versus having two incomes, retirement, and the list goes on and on. It is perfectly normal to have your own personal goals as well, such as paying off your personal student loans so incorporate those goals also and decide how to achieve them together.
Once you have your joint goals, write them down so neither of you will forget. Remember the acronym S.M.A.R.T. Make sure your goals are as specific as possible. Your goals must be measurable so that you can gauge your progress. Your goals need to be in line with reality, and therefore attainable. They must be relevant to your life’s overall mission and your values. Finally, they must be time-constrained in order to make sure you do not procrastinate until it is too late to achieve that specific goal. Sounds like SMART financial marriage advice to me!
Creating joint goals, working to attain them together, and holding each other accountable is the secret to a financial we not me relationship, and after all, we is why you’re getting married in the first place, right? Guys (and girls), the best marriage advice I can give you is to keep a we not me attitude on everything you can and build both your Winning Team and your Pot of Gold!
Stay tuned next month for more financial marriage advice Indiana Investment Watch and find out why couples are the most likely to get into major debt within two years after getting married and how to stop the cycle before it hurts your marriage!