4 Things No One Ever Told Me About Marriage and Money
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I’m technically still in the honeymoon stage after getting married about two months ago. My marriage hardly feels like a ‘new relationship’ however, and not much has changed because I’ve known my husband for many years, we’ve lived together for a while and we’ve always had very open conversations about everything.
Before we tied the knot, we took pre-marital counseling and I greatly appreciated the personal finance chapter of our lesson. While we had discussed our financial goals and spending habits earlier in the relationship, I was interested to learn more about what my husband truly thought about certain financial topics and milestones that we have yet to achieve like buying a house, retiring at a certain age, our timeline for paying off our debt and so on.
While it’s important to discuss essential money topics like your financial philosophy, your debt and your credit score before marriage, we made sure to do that early on, which ensured that we were on the same page financially.
However, there were still a few practical things I feel like no one ever told me about marriage and money.
1. Taking on Someone Else’s Debt Sucks
When we got married, I knew my husband had more debt than me and it would be considered ‘our debt’ practically as soon as we made our nuptials official. We have a solid plan in place to use the avalanche method to attack our debt, but if I can be completely honest, I don’t like the extra debt one bit.
No one likes to pay off debt, especially when it isn’t theirs. I worked extremely hard to pay off a large portion of my debt last year, which left me with only student loan debt. When I got married, my debt total practically doubled which made me feel like I was taking a step backward or that all my progress had been washed away.
I love my husband unconditionally and will work with him so we can become debt free in the next few years, but I’d be lying if I said I was happy about taking on additional debt. Realistically, it sucks, but it’s something you have to work through when you’re married.
2. keep financial matters private
At my wedding reception, my Dad made a heartfelt speech about my husband and I. At the end of his speech, he reminded us to keep certain things within our marriage and not to involve others in our private affairs. His comment was very generalized, but since I’m a money nerd, I always tend to find or create a financial perspective for everything.
I don’t think everyone should know everything about our financial situation, especially family. While I am a blogger and I consider myself pretty open, I still don’t share every little detail about my finances (especially now that I don’t want my husband to feel uncomfortable).
When it comes to family, I love mine dearly but I don’t always find it beneficial to share specific details about our household finances even if I feel the need to vent. For example, if my husband made a stupid purchase that upset me, I wouldn’t find it helpful to tell everyone in my family about it. I feel like it opens up room for judgement or certain expectations and I don’t want to be judged by where and how much we work, how much we make and how much we spend.
With blog posts it’s different because I share tips, strategies and advice that most people can relate to for educational purposes. But for personal interaction with my loved ones, I want us to be viewed as regular people without any context related to our household finances. I won’t keep family completely in the dark, but I won’t involve them in every little thing either.
3. You Don’t need joint Accounts
Before I got married, I got a lot of advice about how to handle your bank accounts. Most of what I heard was in support of combining finances when you’re married to make it easier and to have everything out in the open.
While we definitely don’t believe in secrets, having everything combined in one account was not ideal at all. I personally have several bank accounts and I feel they help keep me organized. When we got married, my husband moved over to the same bank as me, but we kept our own accounts and turned one of my extra accounts into a joint account so we could transfer money to each other and pay bills easily. This way, we still split expenses so one person isn’t bombarded with paying all the bills every week.
I still kept my Capital One 360 savings accounts open and just gave my husband my online banking password so he can be in the loop about everything. When it comes to deciding whether to completely combine finances or not, you should do whatever works best for you.
4. Fancy Gifts Aren’t required
I know I sound like an old maid saying this and maybe I’m talking myself out of the newlywed bliss stage, but I think by the time we got married, we realized that fancy gifts don’t make or break our relationship nor prove how much we love each other. We exchanged gifts while dating, but it got old quick and aside from birthdays and Christmas, it didn’t feel right to run out and buy a gift just because society said to do so.
Despite what people may say about committing to keep the romance alive and continuing to date each other after you’re married, we still respect and value each other and make time to do fun things together. However, we made a conscious effort to stop basing our happiness and relationship around gifts and material things once we decided to get married. Plus, we are focused on some much more important financial goals.
Can you relate to any of these realizations about money and marriage? What would you add to the list? What’s your philosophy on talking about personal finances with family? How do you feel about joint accounts for couples? Are they necessary?