The biggest game changer in your career and finances could be tying the knot. Avoid financial disaster by following these tips.
When it comes to your career and financial investments, you take a measured amount of pride in your decision-making methodology. Over the years, you’ve worked hard and saved your pennies. You don’t just jump haphazardly into an investment, nor do you blindly trust every “lucrative” job offer that crosses your path.
Rather than dump your hard-earned money down into some bottomless get-rich-quick scheme, you’ve done your research and ensure your stock portfolio is working for your retirement. After several years of managing your career choices and navigating various financial options, you have solid money-wrangling skills.
So with all of this monetary management know-how, you’re more than ready to handle making (potentially) the biggest career and investment move of your life, right? No, I’m not talking about adopting an aggressive stock portfolio. The biggest game changer in your career and finances could be tying the knot.
Marriage: It’s not just about love
When it comes to getting married, many couples underestimate the gravity of the investment and overlook money matters until they become serious issues. Just as you wouldn’t accept a new job offer or enter into a business deal without running the numbers and fully understanding the costs, combining incomes — and debt — should be handled with the same amount of care.
Read on for tips on how to manage finances and improve the likelihood that your new investment – your marriage – will succeed. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Be honest
If you were interviewing for a new job, you wouldn’t lie about your skills. If you got the job based on false premises, eventually you’d be revealed as a fraud. It’s not worth it.
Lying about your finances to your partner is just as detrimental — both to your financial stability and your partner’s trust. Be honest about your debts, income, savings and other finances. If you’re uncomfortable discussing money with your spouse, that’s an issue you need to address. Unless you win the jackpot or fall into an insanely big inheritance, your debts won’t just go away. In fact, the longer you ignore money issues, the more your debt will grow and the more serious consequences you will face.
Be honest and upfront about what you’re working with. It’s better than getting your truck repo’d the day after your honeymoon.
2. Get on the same page
If you take your career seriously, you’ve likely thought through your five-year plan. Do the same for you and your partner’s finances. Figure out where you what you want to achieve together, then start working towards it.
Once you’ve laid out your combined incomes and financial obligations, make a plan to get on the same page. Establish who will pay the bills, when they will be paid, and from which account the money will be drawn.
Just as important: Establish a discretionary spending budget. Both partners deserve an independent, pre-determined portion of the budget to spend. Though you are unified in your finances, it’s important to have personal independence as well.
Sticking to your agreed upon spending plan reinforces that your own needs and wants are only part of the deal. Now that you’re married, you’re half of a two-person dream team. You and your spouse are in this budget management game together.
Respect your partner by not spending outside your means; although not always fun, it’s practical. Paying down your existing debt (and managing how much new debt you accrue) will be far more satisfactory in the long run than buying something you can’t afford to begin with.
3. Over communicate
Effective communication is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship, both at work and at home. You already know you won’t be as successful at work if you can’t communicate effectively with your peers and superiors. The same is true in your marriage.
Make sure you’re clear on what “effective communication” is. This does not count the following: yelling, bullying, lying and manipulating. If you work as part of a team, you know the project’s success depends on every team member being on the same page. Doing a project twice (or failing to complete it at all) because of miscommunication is both frustrating and potentially detrimental to your career.
Marriages follow a similar logic. Is something about the budget bothering you? Talk about it with your partner and reach a solution as a team. Building up resentment towards your spouse won’t help resolve anything, and in fact will likely make things worse.
4. Embrace failure
In both your career and personal life, you often learn more from your failures than you do from the successes. In fact, it’s the failures that make it possible to succeed.
At some point, your plans will go awry. Whether you overspend or under-communicate, you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road. It’s okay to fumble (and maybe even fail) a few times; it’s all part of the growing process.
The important part becomes how you and your partner learn and grow from these hurdles. Don’t let a slight detour derail your progress completely. Rather, allow these moments to teach you and move you forward towards your financial goals.
Master ponderer Confucius once said, “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” This is true for reaching any goal — but especially relevant for goals that do not produce instant results.
Marriage is both a career and an investment merger that without a doubt requires some serious planning by both parties. By taking a proactive approach to your happily-ever-after, you can avoid some of the most martially disastrous pitfalls around. So, go ahead, say your vows with confidence knowing that you have budgeted for wedded bliss.
Josh Redfield is an Arizona-based mountain biking junkie. When he’s not out on an epic ride, you can find him utilizing his law degree to write about any matter of legality that causes a ruckus.