Financial Dynamics Change After the Wedding–Here's What to Do
Once the wedding is over, certain joint decisions are inevitable. You'll quickly go from centering your wants and needs as an individual to centering decisions around both partners–especially financial ones. According to The Knot Financial Survey 2022: For the Love of Money, about seven in 10 couples are discussing finances at least once a week. About 32% of couples, in fact, broach the topic a few times a week. However, the data reveals that those who are engaged or dating are discussing finances more than married respondents.
Financial decisions are already hard enough on the individual level. When you factor in another person's ideas and beliefs about money, making joint decisions sometimes becomes even more challenging. The question of how to manage finances in a marriage is a common one for newlyweds or soonlyweds, and it starts with communication. Like everything else in marriage, financial communication requires a deep level of understanding, compassion, patience and compromise. Read on for tips for how to manage finances in a marriage.
Invite Your Partner Into Your Space
As you're finally settling down after the hustle and bustle of your wedding, the merging of two lives has officially begun. Not only are you growing your relationship, but acknowledging that the one you have with money might be deeply personal. Inviting your partner into that space, particularly your now spouse–whom you've now vowed to spend the rest of your life with–is no light decision.
As you're now figuring out what that looks like financially for you as a couple, the important factor is that you both understand that making financial decisions may not be the easiest or most natural practice. But with just a dose of that, these conversations with your partner will become the norm.
Compromise as You Discuss Goals
There's no perfect strategy for making financial decisions as a couple after the wedding. Different things work for different people, but something that remains between all couples is the power of compromising in a relationship.
Sure, the term "compromise" gets a bad reputation since it's usually associated with resentment or the concept of "one winner, one loser." However, that isn't the case, especially with financial decisions. You and your partner should work together after the wedding to establish both your short-term and long-term goals. By deciding how the money in your shared accounts will be used or if you even want shared accounts and determining the difference between household and individual finances, you'll avoid confusion. Finally, couples should communicate constantly and compromise–often–for the sake of your partnership.
Acknowledge Your Differences
Studies show that money is one of the leading causes of arguments after the wedding. It's more than likely that this could occur as bills and statements detailing the true cost of your wedding come through. Whatever the issue, wedding-related costs spark a conversation about money.
And it doesn't stop there. Excessive debt, poor money management, different financial goals, varying levels of financial confidence, and lack of communication lead to high levels of stress and arguments when it comes to couples discussing finances. A marriage brings together two different people from two different backgrounds with completely different beliefs, especially when it comes to money. Prior to getting married, you and your partner may have avoided sharing financial responsibilities.
After the wedding, it's important to start developing a partnership and navigating finances as a couple, even with opposing views. Acknowledging that you view finances differently and giving space for compromise are the initial steps to making financial decisions as a couple after the wedding. Instead of seeing your differences are a hindrance to your marriage, consider your differences a strength. Being able to overcome these differences can strengthen your relationship.
Accept That Finance Is Romance
Complementing each other's weaknesses and strengths around money builds financial intimacy. Financial intimacy is the ability for you and your partner to work together and openly share your thoughts, feelings and desires about money. We don't often see financial conversations as an intimate experience and that's a major problem.
So let's set the scene: the wedding is over and you and your partner are in the honeymoon phase. However, you're back home and need to discuss finances, which is a difficult conversation for most couples. How do you turn this into an intimate experience? When you think about it, you and your spouse have discussed money from the very beginning of your relationship. From deciding who will pick up the check at the end of the first date to who pays for what with the wedding, money is so deeply ingrained in our relationships that we can't avoid the topic… even when we try to avoid it.
Take the pressure off by turning it into a weekly date night discussion. Start by sharing your financial goals. Then, develop small habits that give space to allow both partners to have equality and inclusivity in the future of your financial planning–together.
The Bottom Line: Communicate
After the wedding making financial decisions will start to shift from "yours and mine" to "ours." Good communication, compromise, acknowledgment, and fiscal romance can help ease the challenges that come with making financial decisions. Once you have the first conversation about money and establish what works best for you, it's going to be easier for you and your partner to get on the same page.
Please note: The Knot and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, financial or tax advice and should not be used as such. You should always consult with your financial and tax advisors about your specific circumstances.