Don’t let the title scare you off, we know not everyone talks about finances openly and it could be an intimidating subject but it doesn’t have to be! As you know, Faisal and I got married over a year ago and to be honest we both have different ways of communicating and managing finances. At first we struggled a bit because financial stress can cause conflict in relationships but we slowly figured out our mojo. We implemented things we thought were really important such as communication, checking in with one another regularly, and goal setting; and we also met with Susanna Cherian who is a Financial Advisor at Meridian Credit Union and she gave us some good advice. So here it goes!
- Be open and honest with each other!
Tell your partner everything, and that means the good and the bad. So assets, liabilities, any debts and loans you may have. If you have a large balance owing on your credit card or a bad credit score you want to make sure you aren’t hiding that because trust me, your partner will eventually find out and you can’t possibly plan for the future effectively if you aren’t on the same page.
- Budget, Budget, Budget!
This one is so important because without it you can find yourself in a pickle. Once you are married it’s easy to get excited thinking you have double the income coming in but what you don’t realize is that you are pretty much doubling up on your expenses as well. So after you get married, make sure to sit down with one another and figure out a budget; add up all your monthly expenses, figure out how much you want to save and how much money you have left over for leisure activities (date nights, vacations, etc.). At the same time, be realistic and leave some room as you will always need cash flow for daily activities.
- Build your savings!
Life isn’t perfect and there will be a few rainy days where the only thing that will come in handy is your savings. What you have to realize is that you are no longer single and have responsibilities and bills to pay, so if you lose your job or your partner does, you want to ensure you have something to lean back on without stressing yourselves out too much. We use something called a High Interest Savings Account (HISA). Susanna suggested Meridian’s Good To Grow HISA that you can open online, with no monthly fees and a very competitive interest rate. We prefer this kind of account because we aren’t locked in but at the same time we get the benefit of a high interest rate, which helps our money grow.
- Set goals, both short term and long term.
We find it really helpful when we write down our detailed goals. We find that we are more motivated to achieve them this way because we know what we are aiming for. For exampleif you are planning on saving for a trip next year, instead of saying “We are going to save enough to go on a trip next year”, say, “We are planning a trip to Paris next year, and by April we need X amount of dollars to cover our flights and hotel.”
- Communicate Regularly.
Regularly check in with one another to see how things are going—are you sticking to your budget, do things need to change, is it time to make new goals if you have already achieved some of them, etc. I don’t know about you but I always feel better after telling my hubby what has been bothering me!
Hope you guys found this post useful! There are tons of other practices and services you can use to manage your finances better but these were a few that we implemented, so we wanted to share them with you.
Also, if you want to learn more about some of the services we mentioned or want to meet with a Financial Advisor yourself, then we would highly suggest visiting meridiancu.ca for more information.
Sana & Faisal