Navigating the journey of marriage can be exciting, but it also presents unique financial challenges. Here are some crucial ideas to ensure that you and your spouse build a strong financial foundation. Here we provide some critical information around financial advice for newlyweds to ensure your marriage thrives. From decoding your money story to creating a joint account for household expenses, you’ll avoid many of the pitfalls married couples fall into when it comes to their finances.
Understand the Legal Implications
In South Africa, your marital regime plays a significant role in your financial landscape. If you’re married in community of property, all assets and debts are shared equally. However, in an out-of-community-of-property regime, you maintain separate estates – except with the accrual system where you share in the growth of the larger of your estates post-marriage. Understanding these legalities can help you navigate potential financial challenges because the legal implications of your marital regime plays a significant role in your financial life. Particularly important here and something to discuss is what you plan on doing if you want to start a family? Will one spouse become a full-time parent or do you both want to continue working? Because giving up a career or your earning ability may lead to resentment and challenges down the line if you haven’t been open and discussed this in advance.
Tip 1: Financial Advice for Newlyweds -Decode Your Money Stories
Every individual carries a “money story” – a set of beliefs and attitudes towards money shaped by past experiences. Unpack these stories together to understand why each of you behaves the way you do with money. For example, savers might feel anxiety over spenders’ purchases, while spenders might feel restricted by savers’ caution. Understanding your money stories can enhance communication and lead to more aligned financial decisions. You’ll save yourself a lot of future heartache and stress if you master this key tip when starting your financial planning for newlyweds.
Tip 2: Create a Joint Account for Household Expenses
Consider creating a joint account for shared expenses. Both partners should contribute proportionally according to their income. This method eases potential tensions about “who pays for what,” ensuring an equitable approach to managing shared costs. Everything from rent or home-loan payments, food, insurance, school fees and other household expenses would work for an account like this. Related to this is having a clear budget for your household expenses and sticking to it. One of the best pieces of financial advice for newlyweds is to spend time together to formulate a household budget and sticking to it. If one person keeps going ‘rogue’ and spending beyond the agreed limits, it will inevitably cause friction.
Tip 3: Prioritize Individual Financial Freedom
While shared finances are important, each partner should also maintain personal financial freedom. Allow room in your budget for individual pursuits and hobbies. This freedom prevents resentment and ensures a healthy sense of individuality within your financial life together. It’s very rare that you’ll both have exactly the same hobbies and interests, so it’s important you have the space to and trust to spend money on things that are also important to you (within reason of course).
Tip 4: Aim for Financial Independence
Rather than solely focusing on retirement, aim for financial independence. This goal implies covering your living expenses without relying on employment income, giving you the freedom to pursue your passions. Achieving this requires disciplined saving, smart investing, and realistic financial goals.
Tip 5: Plan Your Estate Wisely
Go beyond getting insurance to protect your financial future. Invest time in estate planning – drafting a will, setting up trusts if needed, updating beneficiary nominations, discussing guardianship if kids are involved and making sure there is enough liquidity in your respective estates to avoid assets needing to be sold and your wishes therefore not being fulfilled. Estate planning ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes and offers financial protection for your loved ones.
Navigating the financial journey in marriage doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With understanding, open communication, and strategic planning, you can build a strong, shared financial future while respecting each other’s individual needs and money stories. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to align these strategies with your unique circumstances. At Henceforward we enjoy working with couples to ensure their financial lives thrive. Contact us to find out more.