On Saturday, my husband and I went to our friend’s wedding. I love weddings. I love the decor, the music, the vows and the ambiance. In my opinion, weddings symbolize light and hope for the future born out of unwavering love. Yes, I am indeed a hopeless romantic.
Marriage brings two people, two different lives together as one. Sometimes this can get messy and overwhelming. In particular, I will focus on the financial side of this union. Some households have one stream of income and some have multiple. Whichever is your situation, I would like to share some guidelines that have proven useful to me throughout my life and throughout my marriage.
- Create and Stick to a Budget: Always create a budget for the month. I say a month because depending on your situation sometimes expenses may change month to month. However, ensure that you know exactly where your money is going, how much is going out and how much is coming in. Do not go over your budget! There may be cases in which you have to exceed your budget, but that should only be for emergencies and not an ongoing practice.
- Get Out of Debt: Debt causes anxiety, stress, frustration and impatience at times. As soon you are able, pay off your debt. Debts such as mortgages and education can be viewed as necessary debts but still try to pay them off as soon as your finances allow. That way you will have more disposable income and more income to save and invest.
- Always Save and Invest: Let your money work for you. Always put something aside whenever you get paid. In the book, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, it teaches us to pay ourselves first when we receive our salary. In other words, put something aside for yourself, then pay your expenses and live off what’s left. It may sound hard at first, but this concept helps you to live within your means and allows you to have money in case of emergencies. Make sure to speak with your investment banker about the right investments to achieve your objectives. Learn about the financial market as well so that you can make informed decisions about your financial well-being.
- Create Multiple Streams of Income: This is something that my husband and I are currently working on. It’s okay to have a regular 9 to 5 job, however, you need to ensure that if that job isn’t there tomorrow you aren’t out on the streets. Think of things you are good at and turn those talents into a business or become a freelancer on the side. If you are able to, purchase or invest in income-generating real estate. Get creative and think of ways to supplement your income today.
- Set Clear Objectives Together: Last but not least make the time to talk about short, medium and long-term objectives. Most persons have hopes, dreams and aspirations. Take the time to clearly outline these things as individuals and as a partnership. Once these objectives are known, then you can make a financial road map towards them.
Marriage is a beautiful thing but ensure that you talk about money. Plan together and always be transparent in your spending habits. Don’t let finances become a burden. Take control of your finances today. Money is a tool to help you to achieve your goals in life.