It all culminated while I was standing at the altar and Anthony Hamilton began to sing. This was the moment I had been waiting for my entire life. The love of my life was walking towards me as I eagerly anticipated two becoming one. When we came face to face, exchanged vows, and the minister presented us as Mr. and Mrs., the reality sunk in. I am now a married man! This was different from the ‘I’m finally an adult’ realization, because that normally comes with an unexpected acceptance of paying bills.
This realization combined all of mine with all of hers. Uh oh! Thank God we did our due diligence in preparation. You’re the boss before you’re the boss, you’re married before you’re married, and you’re a financial success before you’re a financial success. But how do you become a financial success with yours and hers (or his)? Lots of effort, lots of patience, and of course, lots of communication.
Budgeting (or living with a spending plan) is the foundation of financial success. Like everything else in life, you need a plan to get to where you want to go. Many couples struggle because they’ve planned for the wedding but never planned for the marriage. Many plan for the first date but never plan for the commitment. Let’s face this truth head on…. relationships cost. Yes, monetarily but also in many other ways. I just find it hard to believe that many have plans for their favorite sport franchise to be a success but lack a plan for their own wallets. Well if you don’t have a plan for your finances, trust me, someone else does as finances remain the leading cause for divorce.
I don’t want to just outline a problem without giving a solution. But the truth is, I’m pretty new to this. I can share what I’ve learned thus far and what I continue to learn from others. All that time and money spent to plan my wedding should be miniscule in comparison to planning my marriage. If you share financial information with anyone, it’s best to be open and honest about your financial dealings. All of us got to this point based on something else we’ve experienced or been exposed to. Communication opens up this dialogue of why I prefer to do things this way and why you prefer to do things that way.
Matching great communication with shared values, goals, and priorities equals success. What are the five most important things to you? Together, this question must be answered in order to have common ground. This common ground should be reflected in your budget. Your budget should never betray your beliefs. Too many times we allow temporary situations to affect long-lasting stability. Hopefully, if you’re engaged in couples budgeting, the foundation of the relationship is love.
Regardless of what situation is put in front of you, it is imperative that we reflect on our values, goals, and priorities that we’ve established together. Your budget, your plan is at your command and we generally, as humans, need to stick to the plan and point. So when your spouse tells you that it’s probably not the best idea to purchase the new 65 inch 4K TV or the latest $300 Michael Kors purse, just remember, that ‘the point of it all is I love you.’
By Jaison K.D. McCall, Financial Education Manager, Prosperity Connection