Money and marriage, three things you should know before you tie the knot

Bells

I am pretty sure if I had to slay a two-headed, fire-breathing dragon, scale a tall, tall tower and overthrow the guards to rescue my princess, I ‘d still be single.

Don’t get me wrong, my wife is totally worth it but, based on my dragon slaying skills; I would probably be burnt to a crisp in the first 45 seconds of my journey.

Imagine how different the fairy tale might be if the prince and the princess had to deal with money issues. What if they never talked about money and they both just spent and spent until one day they realized they had over $40,000 in credit card debt from eating out, playing golf and buying shoes.

Do you think the story would still end in “and they lived happily ever after?”

We know that money fights and money related problems are the number one reason stated for divorce. So how can we overcome this and live happily ever after?

Communication

There are many important decisions you’ll need to make, but how you’ll spend your money is the most important one. Communication in your marriage will be the key to a happily ever after.

Communicating about money should begin while you’re dating. All too often we are so busy trying to impress one another that we spend money as if it doesn’t matter.

If you want to live happily ever after, you have to be honest and truthful with yourself, and with each other, about your money, debt and your ability to save.

Once the two of you start talking about marriage, you’ll have to decide on the ring. For many of you, this will be the first real big expense of your relationship.

I know there are some pre-established rules about how much to spend on the engagement ring.  I have heard three times his gross monthly salary thrown out a bit.

So, if he makes $80,000 a year, this rule dictates he should spend $20,000 on the ring. That’s nuts!

Ladies, don’t start hating on me just yet, I am not suggesting he proposes with a ring pop, but spending more on a ring than the cost of a good used car is pretty ridiculous.

Regardless of what the TV commercial wants you to believe, there is no proven correlation between the size of the ring and how much he loves you.

Other than the potential pawn value, in the end the size of your ring won’t really matter if your marriage ends in divorce.

Without open lines of communication, he could easily take the advice of the jeweler. You can shop together, or if he can surprise you, you have to communicate about money before he buys the ring.

Planning the wedding

Your wedding day is a beautiful day; if you’re the bride, you have dreamed of this day since you were a little girl. If you are the groom, chances are the details aren’t that important to you.

I get it. You don’t care about the colors of the napkins, the type of flowers or who caters the big day. You probably leave the details to her and that’s okay. You do have to talk about money and create a wedding budget together.

If the two of you are paying for your own wedding, then only the two of you get a say about the budget. If your soon to be mother-in-law is not helping to pay for the wedding, then who cares what she thinks. Don’t let her talk you into serving steak, if all you can afford is off-brand mac and cheese. I know it’s not traditional, but if that’s all you can afford, it will have to do.

Living on a budget

After the wedding it’s no longer her money and his money, it is our money and that means you need a plan for your financial future together.

If you want to avoid money fights, then you have to live within your means and save for the future. Make the big decisions together and whatever you do, don’t go into debt to get married.

While I am lousy at slaying dragons, I have figured out how to have an awesome marriage. My wife and I have been married almost 12 years and I can honestly tell you, we have never fought about money.

Communicating about money and living with a plan eliminates stress, anxiety and money fights. There are so many things in life that you can’t control, don’t give up on the ones you can.

What other advice do you have for living happily ever after? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *