Everyone’s approach to finances seems to be as different as snowflakes. There are a few things everyone can do that can get their home in order and finances in check. And if you are newlyweds, like some very dear friends of mine will soon experience (congrats Chris and Meghan!!) it’s really important to figure this out quickly.
When you are single, it’s easy to let bills go, overspend, be frivolous with your money. It’s only you so who cares if you goof things up, right? Wrong!! If you ever plan to get married, your past mistakes could come back to haunt you…and your future spouse. See, your credit score will follow you forever. You know, when the school vice principal says, “This will go on your permanent record”; they aren’t kidding. When you get married, you don’t just marry the person, you marry their credit too. Now, asking what your first date’s credit score is isn’t exactly the most romantic approach, but eventually, that conversation needs to come up if you plan to have a serious, long term relationship with that person. You have to know what is ahead for you if your spouse brings in bad credit; higher interest rates on cars and credit cards, co-signers for rental agreements, maybe not qualifying for the mortgage on your first house.
So, what do you do?
First thing, and most important, is to sit down together and get a plan that you both can agree on and stick to. You have to have a united front as a couple.
Next, work out a plan to pay off the debt. It has to be paid off or it will become a big, hairy monster in your relationship.
Another thing is to, again together, make a budget. In that budget, you need to be sure to keep things in it that are important to both people while still living within your means. Find ways to work in shopping trips, golf outings, date nights with each other, and nights out with the guys or girls. You are on a budget, but it doesn’t have to eliminate all the fun. Just keep it reasonable. Save up for the special things that you want to do so you have the cash to pay for it.
The next thing to do together is to make goals. What is it that you both want for your future? Go ahead and make a list. Put it in writing and stick it to the refrigerator. Always work together to make those goals happen so you are rewarded together when you achieve your goals.
You are embarking on an amazing journey together. Don’t let credit issues and financial stresses be a roadblock for you. Take care of it early on so you can enjoy your future together. Congratulations and good luck!!!