While money can’t buy happiness, a good heart-to-heart talk about finances with your fiancé – on a regular basis – can certainly pave the way for much less conflict and confusion! Success with mixing money and marriage is built around one word: communication. Start now, while you’re engaged, and keep your discussions open and honest.
Jump Start Your Future
Partnering with Piedmont Federal – a local hometown bank in business for more than 114 years – is an ideal first step towards a healthy financial relationship as a couple. Plus, you’ll enjoy the added advantage of its traditional values, integrity and dedicated employees who will be there at every stage of your life together! Try Piedmont Federal’s suggested conversation starters to kick-off your newlywed money management:
- What are your individual spending habits? Is one of you a saver and the other a spender? If so, don’t panic, think compromise!
- Be honest about your current debt: Car loans? Student loans? Credit card debt? Put it all out there.
- Define your “couple” goals: Frequent travel? Buying a home? Further education? Early retirement, with a second home?
- Together, create a reasonable monthly budget, and make that the foundation of all your money discussions.
Yours, Mine and Ours
Blending lives means a decision on joint versus individual checking accounts. Some couples prefer opening a joint account for household expenses, while also holding on to individual accounts for personal spending and the occasional splurge.
“It depends on the couple,” said Ginger Salt of Piedmont Federal. “Couples should understand each other’s styles of money management, and work through any philosophical issues well before the wedding bells toll! If you join accounts, both partners know exactly what’s coming in and what’s going out. There’s no mine and yours; there’s just ours.”
Compromise is essential, especially if one person makes significantly more money than the other and happens to be a saver. If the other is a spender, it’s important to set boundaries so that each feels comfortable.
Eyes on the Future
Talking to your trusted banker about your financial plans as a couple – as well as your money management preferences – can help you determine both short-term and long-term goals.
As a team, newlyweds will also want to set up an emergency savings fund – making sure they have enough in a household savings account to cover the unexpected – broken appliances or urgent home repairs, for example. A few thousand dollars set aside can relieve anxiety and help you avoid a sudden strain on your new marriage!
There are other savings goals, such as future educational endeavors (finally pursuing that Master’s degree?) or gathering a down payment for your first mortgage.
“Within those first five years, you are really establishing habits and routines,” said Ginger. “You may be working towards a career promotion and need a specific degree to achieve that. Or, you may be considering starting a family, which automatically starts you thinking about a bigger place to live.”
In 10 years, your goals may include a career change or preparing for your children’s education.
Home Sweet Home
When it’s time to shop for your first home together, there are also some important ways to prepare for your first loan application:
- Do your research. Talk to friends and family members who have been through the process
- Talk with a mortgage professional, and let him/her explain the process and, most importantly, help you determine how much house you can afford.
- Allow time to comparison shop for your home loan. Check out fees that are associated with the loan, the interest rate and estimated funds needed to close the loan.
- See if your potential lender offers a first-time homebuyer product. Those types of loans require less money down and tend to have lower fees. For example, Piedmont Federal offers two First-Time Homebuyer programs for just those advantages.
- Utilize online home finance calculators to estimate mortgage amounts and monthly payments.
Now that you’re focusing on “us” and not just “me,” let the hometown professionals at Piedmont Federal Savings Bank guide the first chapters of your newlywed financial future. Reach them at 336.770.1124, online at piedmontfederal.com, or visit them at any of their eight locations in Forsyth County or in their North Wilkesboro and Boone offices.