Good financial standing is one of the linchpins of romantic relationships. When married couples have financial disagreements that begin to spiral out of control, on the other hand, they could be headed for an eventual divorce. Here are a few nifty tips that will help you keep both your finances and your marriage on solid ground for many more years down the road.
Track Monthly Expenses
One of the smartest things you can do to keep your general budget on track is to look closely at your monthly expenses. You’ll generally want to consider how much money you are currently spending in the following areas:
- Rent or mortgage
- Cable and internet
- Car payments
The goal is to develop a good feel for where the household income is being spent. This is also an excellent way to figure out how much extraneous income you might have in your bank account. Putting your nose to the grindstone at work is all well and good, but you’ll want to have at least some cash left over to go to movies, concerts, ball games, and other activities that make life worth living. These outings are ultimately the glue that holds a relationship together.
Develop an Emergency Fund
Rainy day funds are excellent ways to prepare for household emergencies. When couples agree to put away a small portion of each paycheck to protect against financial issues should a pet get sick or the home need repairs, they’ll be less stressed about the future. Rainy day funds, in fact, offer a significant psychological advantage. They allow couples to enjoy life without worrying that any moderate financial setback will send them scrambling to family members for an immediate loan to get them out of their mess. With the financial leeway provided by an emergency fund, marriages are less likely to end up on the rocks.
Discuss Annual Vacations in Detail
Being on the same page when it comes to the annual family vacation is always a good way to head off problems. Trips to Disney World, the Grand Canyon, or the Pacific Northwest can cost a few thousand dollars each. You’ll want to sit down with your spouse and go over the costs of hotel reservations, plane tickets, car rentals, and amusement park fees. This should give you a rough estimate of how much the vacation will cost. If you’ve saved a little less than you wanted during one particular year, it is perfectly fine to take a more limited vacation. A camping and hiking trip in one of the nearby state or national parks can be just as rewarding as a stay in an upscale hotel. Play to your interests to create a vacation for the ages.
Consider Long-Term Family Planning
If you have kids and want to make sure that they have every opportunity for success, you will want to consider setting up some sort of savings account for college. A trust can be a great way to safely save money so that it cannot be used until the children become legal adults. You might also use this opportunity to put together a will so that every possible contingency is planned for. In most cases, couples will also be interested in life insurance plans that will provide for one spouse should the other one die. Though life insurance policies are never easy to discuss, they are generally considered the responsible thing to do.
Join an Investment Club
Discuss with your spouse the possibility of joining one of the local investment clubs. Instead of slowly accumulating interest in a traditional bank savings account, you should consider options that can help you grow your portfolio more quickly. These options may include the following:
- Individual stocks
- Savings bonds
- Mutual funds
- Real estate
- Precious metals
The goal is to spread out your investments so that the yields are modest but steady. As a couple, you can work with a reputable investor to decide where you would like your money to go. Couples who invest wisely generally are more secure about their retirement prospects, which should lead to a more successful marriage in the future.
Consider Low-Expense Outings
When the budget is a little tighter than usual, consider some fun activities that do not cost a lot of money. Biking one of the country roads near your house, for example, can be a great way to enjoy nature while also getting in some exercise. Similarly, the family might decide to spend the day at one of the local museums that only charges a few dollars for fee of admission.
Tennis, miniature golf, and even backyard croquet are also fun activities that can spice up a family gathering. Buying a relatively inexpensive badminton net can lead to hours of enjoyment for both adults and children alike. If you are in the habit of throwing yearly birthday parties for your kids and their friends, there’s no real need to rent out an expensive event center in order to have fun. Simply having some fun games and toys set up inside and outside the house can bring the extended family together and create quite the bonding opportunity between parents.
Create Separate Accounts and One Joint Account
The way you organize your money is the key to marital success. Setting up both separate accounts and one joint account can actually help to overcome quite a few financial problems. If both of you are gainfully employed, having separate checking accounts will allow you to spend a bit of your own money for shopping and leisure whenever you wish. The joint account, of course, will act as the primary account for large purchases. At Crane Credit Union, our knowledgeable professionals can help you set up accounts that you’ll be pleased with.
Contact us for more information on how to invest your earnings so that the process pays handsome dividends in the future.