Money and Budgeting Tips for Newlyweds

Do you want to smooth out the edges of potential disagreements over money with your potential or current spouse? Financial matters have a high probability of coming between people who otherwise get along very well. The good news is that there are many effective ways for newlyweds and engaged couples to face these questions head-on and set helpful ground rules that can last for decades.

Nobody wants to fight about money, and you don’t have to if you take sensible steps right now to start off married life on common ground. Getting expert advice from a financial pro is the first step. After that, keep the good vibes going by refinancing any outstanding student loans the two of you have. Other pieces of the financial sanity puzzle include doing monthly budget reviews, discussing all major purchases, and checking credit ratings several times per year. Here’s how to get the ball rolling.

Meet with a Financial Expert

Invest a modest amount of money in fees for a financial counselor. Spend at least one session in which both husband and wife can get some objective advice about finances. There’s no better first step for couples than finding out how to build a commonsense budget and plan for the future.

Refinance Student Loans

Whether you both still owe on student loans or just one does, refinancing multiple loans into a single debt with completely new terms is a great way for couples to start married life with less of a financial burden. Most newlyweds have a more favorable credit rating than when they first took out their school loans. Refinancing makes sense for a number of reasons, but mostly because the move can lower monthly bills and lower them via a quick online application process. For most couples, that means a fresh loan with just one monthly payment that is lower than the one that came with the original loan. Other benefits include getting more time to pay and better terms.

Discuss All Major Purchases

Honesty is an essential element of every solid marriage. That’s why it’s important for recently married men and women to discuss every major purchase they make. Whether it’s a car, an entertainment system, or an appliance, aim to sit down and talk over all the details several weeks before the planned purchase. Reach a consensus on price ranges, brands, and other critical details, including how to pay for the item. Any money troubles in a marriage typically stem from a lack of honesty and transparency so prioritizing both from the start really helps.

Check Credit Ratings Every Three Months

Both husband and wife should check their ratings with all three credit bureaus at least four times per year. You get one free report annually, but getting the additional ones is not a costly proposition. Plus, the information is worthwhile to have. Keep in mind that the reporting bureaus keep separate files for all individuals, so couples will need to check separately for their scores. Review all data in the reports. If you can’t understand some of the legalese, visit an online resource to decipher it. Look for mistakes, and send a written communication to correct any discrepancies you spot. Pay close attention to elements of the reports like percentage of available credit, on-time payment of bills, and outstanding debt. Identify areas where you can make improvements, but be patient because it can take up to six months for scores to change.

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