Seven money management tips for newly married couples

By Natasha Culzac
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Don't let money get in the way of your relationship - use these tips to create and maintain a blissful household

As you set off into the distant horizon with your ‘Just Married’ tins clanging in the background, you’ll want to avoid as many marital speed bumps as physically possible. With money being the cause of so many problems in the home, we’ve listed seven tips that can help steer you clear of these relationship hiccups and instead lead you - hopefully - towards the land of financial contentedness.

These pointers are obviously also valuable to unmarried cohabiting couples, but without any legal protection in the form of marriage, it’s best that anything shared financially, both debt and credit, is in both people’s names so that one person isn’t adversely affected should the relationship turn sour.

Be transparent and open

Make sure that you lay everything on the table. You’d be surprised how many people keep secrets, particularly money-related ones, from their spouses. Don’t be part of that clan. You can’t go wrong with an honest and frank conversation because let’s face it, things get found out in the end anyway, don’t they?

If you’re overwhelmed by debt, perhaps your partner can help you tackle it. If you’re worried about not having a good credit rating because you’ve never taken credit out before, discuss it - perhaps you could get out a credit-building card in your name and pay for household goods with it.

According to counsellor and sex therapist Peter Saddington, one of the most common reasons for relationship break-ups is down to the couple not having the same money values - for example one is particularly frugal, while the other is a bit spend-happy. Make sure you’re on the same page.

Prioritise paying off debt

Debt is the number one issue that can spark a fight in a relationship, according to a SmartMoney survey - 37% of respondents said they’d previously disagreed with a partner regarding it. We all have different perceptions over what level of debt is ‘normal’ and what kinds of debt we’d be happy to take out.

If you do have debt that needs clearing, prioritise paying it off. One part of the reason for this is that if you have joint bills or a joint bank balance with your partner, your credit history will affect theirs and vice versa. In this case, if one of you has a high level of debt or is not keeping up with repayments, both of you will suffer.

Create a budget

Once you both know how your bank balances stand up to scrutiny, it’s time to look at your expenditures and, if you’re wanting to start saving, draw up a budget. Read our guide on how to make a budget for newly married couple.

Your budget may call for a reduction in spending on luxury items and increased deposits in the savings account. Keep an eye on whether you’re on track and make sure you and your partner are in constant communication and agreement over it.

Pay into an emergency fund

If you can, start a savings pot for a rainy day should your boiler break or you suddenly forget the in-laws’ anniversary. You might want to even do separate savings accounts - one for those little annoying things that crop up, but also another more permanent one for big things like a house deposit.    

For the big things, consider the government’s Help-to-Buy ISA when saving for a deposit - it will literally generate free money for you when you complete on a sale. And if your savings are not for a home, but for something equally as life altering such as a long stint abroad, or saving up for a baby, try a high interest savings account.

Keep each other abreast of changing goals

Make sure you keep each other in the loop of any changes of heart that you have. Perhaps you’re unhappy with your current job and you’re thinking about switching careers. Can you afford to go back to studying for a while? Or maybe you want to start your own business and work out what kind of capital you’ll need to get started.

Look into retirement plans

Now you’re looking into future goals, what could be a more important future event than your retirement! Sun, sea, and… well, probably a lot of gardening? Maybe we’ll still be raving at 88, who knows. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that you’re prepared for it and that your partner is equally, too. You don’t want to suddenly have to rely on one retirement income. So if you don’t already pay into a workplace pension then compare other pensions on the market. Retirement may feel like a long way away but what could you be doing now to help you prepare for it financially? Here’s a article on how to start preparing.

No secrets

Most importantly, just keep the levels of discourse between you free and easy. The more honest and frank you both are about money, the more you’ll be able to trust one another. If you need some help on how to conquer that first debt conversation with your partner, take a look at this article.

Top Takeaway

It’s no surprise that money issues are one of the biggest causes of arguments in a relationship. Try to lower the risk of rows happening by embarking on some simple, frank conversations with your other half regarding your current financial state and your money goals. If you plan on spending the foreseeable future with this person, it makes sense for you to both understand where the other is coming from and to help each other reach the exciting heights you both want to.

Author bio: Thanks to a journalistic career history and a childhood at Sylvia Young Theatre School, Natasha has her fingers in a few professional pies, doing her best impression of a model and actor as well as personal finance writer. Outside of work she compulsively watches BBC period dramas and constantly lies to herself that this year will be the year she learns French, once and for all.

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