1. Compare notesIt’s a good idea for each person to make a complete list of all their current accounts and collect the corresponding financial statements. Then bring all the information together to get an idea of your combined:
- Assets, savings, and investments, including emergency funds
- Everyday bills
- Total debt, including credit cards and student loans
2. Get rid of redundancyAre you both paying for the same things unnecessarily? Could you get a better deal on services if you went in together? Assess these spending areas:
- Streaming subscription services
- Cell phone services
- Health, auto, and life insurance
3. Establish money management routinesIt’s usually easier and more efficient if one person pays the bills, but the other person should always be informed. Consider setting a quick weekly meeting to make sure you’re staying on the same page. Many couples benefit from spending ground rules like:
- Neither person can spend over a certain amount on a single purchase without discussing it with the other person first
- Neither person can lend money to friends and family above a certain amount
4. Talk with a tax advisorYou can be married and still file your taxes as individual singles, or you can file jointly. A tax advisor can help you determine which is more advantageous in your situation.
5. Start crafting a budget you can both get behindPeople have different financial personalities, from super-savers to starry-eyed spenders. Your personality doesn’t have to be the same as your spouse’s. The important thing is to keep the lines of communication open and have a mechanism for crunching the numbers.
The United budget calculator makes it easy to break down income, essentials, and more.
6. Align on your long-term financial goalsAs a new couple starting a new life, what are you hoping to accomplish together down the road? Priorities change over time, but it’s good to start the conversation and revisit regularly. Common goals include:
- Buying a home
- Making home improvements
- Retiring comfortably