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Money Management for Newlyweds

by Norris Law Group on April 16, 2014

money_mgmt_newlywedsMoney issues are often cited as the source of problems in many marriages, and even the cause of divorce. Mark Helgesen offers eight money management tips intended to help newlyweds avoid falling into the “money pit” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Deseret News (based on an article by the same author that first appeared in the Debt-Free Mormon).

1.       Agree on the basics. Decide together how you are going to handle money. Come to agreements on how you both feel about debt, savings, spending, etc. 

2.       Have a household budget. Ideally, your household budget should be adjusted monthly, and should be “zero based.” This means that income minus all the household expenses (expenses, debts, savings, investing, etc.) should equal zero. Every dollar should be accounted for. Whatever you decide to do, do it together and stick to your plan.

3.       Maintain transparency. You should both have access to all accounts, including passwords, usernames and account numbers. Set up one checking account for the household with two debit cards.

4.       Have an emergency fund. Set aside an emergency fund of at least $1000, and ideally as much as six months of expenses.

5.       Have a plan to eliminate debt. Use every extra dollar from your income and apply it to your debt. The snowball method can be a very effective way to eliminate your debt: make consistent minimum payments on all your debts except for the smallest one, which you should work to pay off first. Once you pay off the smallest debt, roll that minimum payment and any extra money you can find onto the next debt. Repeat the process until all your debt is paid; you may be surprised at how fast you really can get out of debt!

6.       Have personal spending money and be willing to compromise. Give yourselves permission to enjoy your own money—and one another. But also be willing to compromise and give a little in one area in order to gain something in another.

7.       Set limits on big purchases. The limit itself really doesn’t matter. Make sure you both understand how and on what your money is being spent. This will help your maintain transparency in your marriage, and should uplift the overall spirit of how your household funds are managed.

8.       Give. Even if you don’t attend church or tithe, set aside part of your budget for giving. “Being a giver and having a selfless attitude and spirit about money will bring more opportunities into your [lives].”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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