This is Part 2 of a two part series during which we want to share some basic facts about money matters in the marriage relationship. We are not accountants or financial professionals and recommend that you seek professionals in that arena for specific questions about your financial matters. However, based upon our experience in working with couples and our personal experiences, here are some basic marriage money matters for you to consider.
Measure to Succeed
It is rare when goal achievement takes place without regularly measuring progress toward the goal. It is just as true with money matters. It is important to track family income, including all sources, if you are going to achieve your financial goals. Average monthly income if you own your own business and income is variable. It is just as important to track family expenses, including all cash. One of the ways to do that is to purchase as much as you can via cash card or credit card in order to document every expense. If using cash is necessary, it is important to keep all receipts. Then categorize all documented purchases into fixed and variable expenses.
“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Make Over” and “Financial Peace”
We love Dave Ramsey! One of his common teachings is to “spend it on paper first.” After you have tracked expenses, set a budget by writing down what you plan to do with your estimated income next month. This is a way of telling your money what your going to do with it when you get it. Couples should work together to prioritize fixed and crucial expenses first, then set realistic goals on the variable, negotiable expenses.
“It matters less how much more you make than what you do with what you already have.” Thomas J. Stanley, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
Spend Less Than You Make
Every month use good communication skills and self-discipline to spend less than you make. Pay yourself first but using about 10% of your total income toward the following goals:
- Apply the 10% and any unexpected income or savings toward eliminating debt. By paying down the highest percentage rate debt first, you will begin to find additional savings in your monthly expenses. As you begin to eliminate debt, you will notice that your stress levels will fall. It will also open up possibilities previously closed to you.
- As you pay off debt, you will notice increasingly more money. Continue to use any savings as debt is reduced to build a 2-6 month reserve for unexpected expenses.
- Continue to pay yourself first by saving for the future. Remember that time is on your side. The longer your money is being invested, the more your total assets will grow. Invest wisely with a reputable professional. Add to your savings every month.
It is important to have crucial marriage conversations about financial matters with your spouse. We encourage you to set aside time for a financial meeting in order to talk through your financial status and goals. It is just as important to keep discussions about money issues out of date night and other relationship building time. You need time exclusively set aside for both.
We love to hear from readers. If you and your spouse take care of financial matters well, what other tips do you suggest? If you struggle, what is helpful about this post?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.