Newlywed money mistakes to look out for
There are 8 main money blunders newlyweds go through. Read this list and avoid making the same mistakes as you start your marriage.
Newlywed life is filled with excitement and new discoveries. While that phase of discovery is fun, research shows us that financial issues are the number one reason couples fight. It's better to do the financial discovery before walking down the aisle.
To prepare for your marriage, we suggest you study the list of most common money blunders newlyweds get to deal with and learn how to avoid them.
Not knowing your partner's "Money Story". In order to know how your partner feels about money, you need to know their relationship with money growing up.The experiences they've had (or didn't have) have ultimately shaped their existing relationship with money. Understanding the root of your partner's issues with money helps you avoid "trigger" phrases and situations and tread lightly around sensitive topics. This shouldn't be a scary topic, this is one of the first steps in working toward building your partnership. Let your partner know you are supportive and excited to get to know them on a different level.
Harbouring Financial Secrets. It feels like there is no right time to bring up major loans or credit card debt. But these secrets do come out eventually and can potentially ruin the trust your partner has in you. You know you have to disclose it at some point. We recommend disclosing this early on, and show your partner your your plans to overcome this challenge. Invite them in as a teammate, instead of shocking them with a huge risk. Remember, when you get married, you take on the risks of your partner's debts.
Avoiding big and small money talks. There is a need for ongoing financial talks that need to take place in any household. Bills, credit cards, loans, mortgages, taxes, credit scores... If you aren't finding the time to bring these up, or if they are a sensitive topic, schedule a time each week to discuss these matters. It is tough for most of us to talk money, so make the conversation something both of you will look forward to, by having it over dinner or following it with your favourite activity. If you want to create a culture of open communication around this topic, it's important to keep these conversations positive and constructive. If it becomes a nagging session, nobody will want to participate.
Not helping each other stick to a budget. Creating a family budget is important. It is also extremely important sticking to the budget. However, discussing every dollar spent with your partner can become frustrating. We suggest agreeing on an amount, under which the purchases do not need to be consulted about, and over that amount, require the agreement of both partners. Also, when you consult one another, don't think of it as "asking permission". Instead, know that you are respecting your partner, your relationship and your shared goals by ensuring each other are on the same page.
Thinking it's too early to discuss children. Having children affects many financial and life decisions, including the choice of neighbourhood where you will be living, which type of savings account to open up, how to plan your estate. Make sure you have the conversation about kids early on in the relationship to be prepared when making those difficult decisions.
Believing you're invincible. Thinking that you are invincible and that no illness or even death will touch your family is unreasonable. Make sure you prepare by consulting an insurance broker about your life, critical illness,short and long-term disability policies. Here's a great way to test it: Do you know the specific plan you would undertake if either of you had a debilitating accident tomorrow? This includes emergency funds, insurance and spending cut backs. The strongest couples we see keep discussions like this frequent and reassure one another that they are prepared for any downside. They know that it will bring peace and confidence in the relationship.
Not acknowledging cultural differences. Culture affects our relationship with money. What is acceptable and often expected in one culture may seem ridiculous to another. Make sure you understand and accept your cultural differences and money habits caused by them. Feel free to question them from a place of respect and come to your own joint decisions of what will continue into your marriage and form part of your shared identity.
Waiting till the last minute to talk taxes. In the eyes of the CRA you are considered married in the tax year that you got married. So make sure you plan for that when you are filing your next return. Also, discuss tax habits. Some people are the early birds, when others wait until the last day to send in their return. Discuss a time that works for both of you and who will do which parts of it.
As you can see, these blunders can be easily avoided with preparation and knowledge.
For additional financial discussion recommendations, check out our Discussions: Financial and Legal Checklist.