Marriage lets you share your money and learn financial management skills. Communicating about money can help you stay married, while problems with communication provide thesis material for marriage counselors. Managing your money as a couple requires financial planning to set goals, communication so you agree on those goals and following through with the actions needed to achieve them.
Work together to organize columns of your income and expenses for the month and for the year. Review your paychecks and include deductions for taxes, insurance and savings as part of your plan. Dividing life insurance and other annual payments by 12 to calculate your monthly expenses lets you see monthly totals. Any income not designated for expenses needs a plan as well -- whether you choose to save, invest or make a purchase. Financial security comes from planning for hardship. Suze Orman, a personal financial expert, recommends an emergency fund that covers 8 months of expenses.
Using the list you developed for financial planning, review where your money goes and where you can cut expenses. Call it your money plan if you find budgeting discouraging. Develop a short-term and a long-term plan, deciding where you want to be at the end of the calendar year and five years from now. Leaks in your finances keep you from meeting your goals -- not just for now, but also for the future. At the end of each calendar year, see how much progress you’ve made. Calculating the value of your assets and subtracting your liabilities gives you three concrete figures to compare from year to year -- your assets, your liabilities and your net worth.
Saving for retirement is an important goal for married couples. If you start retirement funds when you’re young, the money has years to grow. It’s tempting to take your retirement fund when you leave a job, but you’ll never be able to recoup the loss to your retirement account if you do. You’ll not get the full amount because you pay income taxes on the money along with a 10 percent penalty if you withdraw retirement funds before you’re 55 or maybe even up to 59 1/2. Even if circumstances allow you to escape the penalty, once you take the retirement money, you'll lose the tax advantages provided by retirement accounts.
Getting married won't merge your credit reports, but if you have joint accounts, the information appears on both credit reports. Your credit score can save money over your married life. A high Fair Isaac Corporation credit score gets you a lower interest rate when you borrow. Your FICO score or a similar calculation for insurance also affects the price you pay for automobile and homeowners insurance in many states, according to Bankrate.com.
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