Although financial concerns may be far from your thoughts when you became engaged, money quickly becomes important within weeks following the exchange of vows. There are things to buy, bills to pay and various other monetary decisions to consider. Unfortunately, far too many American families live from one economic crisis to another, never developing the habit of living within their means. A happy marriage is hard to maintain amid endless financial stress and conflict. Al Jacobs, a professional investor for nearly four decades, offers five fundamental rules that you and your spouse should live by to avoid making financial mistakes.
1. Pay bills promptly. When a bill arrives for payment, you can do one of two things with it. You can pay it promptly or set it aside to be paid later. (yes, there’s a third option, not paying it at all—but let’s not go there.) The habit of pushing off bill-paying to the last minute is a habit that will lead to trouble, namely late charges, damaged credit and aggravation. The best way to function is by making your payments within twenty-four hours. The results are worthwhile: your business contacts will be more attentive, your phone will ring less insistently, and your days will become less frantic.
2. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Marketing trends in the USA are always evolving in sophistication. Their goal is to foist off tons of commercial junk on a gullible public. One of their favorite techniques is convincing a buyer that while he might not be able to afford it now, the future will be brighter and payments will be easier later… so swipe that card and don’t think about tomorrow. This disavowal of the future sells a lot of stuff, but gets many couples into serious trouble. It’s important you realize today’s expense may not be more easily paid tomorrow. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.
3. Avoid paying interest. The root of many couples’ financial woes is the payment of interest. Whether the source of trouble is the purchase of furniture, a vacation, an auto loan, or the infamous credit card, the drain on family income never seems to end. Mr. Jacobs believes that, with the exception of a mortgage on sensibly-priced real estate, interest should never be paid. As was stated in the prior paragraph, don’t spend what you don’t possess.
4. Maintain a reserve. A slogan expressed frequently during the Great Depression was: When poverty walks through the door, love flies out the window. One way to forestall this problem is to set aside assets when times are good, so you’ll have something to fall back on when leans times come. Living hand-to-mouth is not the best way to sustain a successful marital relationship.
5. Make spending decisions together. Never forget that marriage is a partnership. Major financial decisions must be a joint effort. Although one of the partners may possess better money sense than the other, they both share the final outcome, and each deserves a say. If you can find a way to truly cooperate on important financial matters, you’ll find that the decisions are usually mutually satisfying. The alternative leads to resentment, certainly not a way to live life.
Read the whole article here at Hitched.