Being someone of good financial standing with the bank and other financial institutions is a goal that each individual planning to get married and settle down should strive for. This means having a financial record that is either debt-free or one that has the most minimal of arrears. Such a reputation with banks and other financial organizations can help ensure peace of mind for every would-be married couple both before and after they say their marriage vows.
The need to shell out money is inevitable in a person’s life. Every individual married or not will always find himself/herself in circumstances wherein he/she will be required to spend cash even if these be in small amounts. The only question is “On what, for whom, and where, the money will be spent?” Since spending is inevitable, the probability of falling into debt always exists before and even after a couple’s wedding day.
Even with excellent skills in budgeting, no individual is exempt from financial difficulties that beset human beings. This is especially true in times of crises and emergencies. However, it is better to be prepared for such incidents before they happen to avoid falling into debt. And doing this with one’s partner prior to making their marriage vows is the best time.
Married people usually spend more than those who haven’t settled down yet. (There are exemptions to this, however since there are single people who also work to support parents, siblings, and other loved ones, and thus spend more as well.) Couples who eventually have children experience an increase in their expenses since they are required to regularly provide for their children’s needs – daily, basic, educational, medical, and the like. And such expenses, if not clearly foreseen can result in debt – even further debt if arrears are not being taken cared of properly prior to tying the knot.
What One Needs To Know
Prior to settling down, couples should have a very clear and common understanding of the difference between needs and wants. A need is something necessary for survival, while a want is something that is desired or preferred to have, but which an individual can do without. Traditionally, a person’s basic needs have been classified only at the physical level, which are food, clothing and shelter. The human being, however, is far more complex and has other needs that should also be considered, as these have direct impacts to one’s finances before and during marriage. Such needs include those that are psychological, emotional, social, etc.
It is important to remember that though a need might be the same for someone who is still single and one who is already married, such a need can be met very differently. An unmarried person’s need for social interaction for example, might entail him/her to drive to a friend’s place just to take coffee with him/her, requiring him/her to spend money on gas and water for his/her car. Such a need on social interaction however might already be satisfied by a married person’s spouse and/or children, minimizing or even totally eliminating any need to shell out any money by the individual concerned.
Another helpful way of avoiding the possibility of incurring future debt is by having a clear and mutual understanding of what is important from what is urgent before saying “I do.” Important matters are the ones that lead to the achievement of one’s objectives. Though demanding immediate attention and action, urgent matters are those that lead to the attainment of someone else’s goals. Knowing this difference will be helpful in determining when, how, on whom, and on what to spend finances in the future to avoid debt.
It is also good to remember that important and urgent matters will differ between single and married folks. Important matters for a single individual, such as going out for a date, might not be considered as important for a parent who will definitely prioritize the paying his/her child’s tuition fee on time. Likewise, urgent matters for a married individual like buying snacks for their neighbor’s kids who are playmates of his/her child, might not be considered as something urgent for a unmarried office professional offering to buy his/her colleague coffee at a nearby cafe. Soon to be married people should be aware of these basic things to guide them in managing their expenses well during marriage.
Plans and Goals
To avoid drowning in debt during marriage it is important to plan ahead of time. Aside from expenses for the wedding day, couples should secure money needed for other future needs – housing, health, children’s education, etc. in advance. This can be done by saving before saying their “I do’s.” to each other, and making this as a habit in their married life. Learning to invest financial resources on stocks, bonds, real estate, business, among others, is another good way to secure finances to pay for future expenses and keep good credit standing with banks and other financial institutions.
As people who will be living together, it is important for would-be married couples to work on being as a team. This involves considering each other’s current and future financial resources and capabilities. It also requires practicing the habit of consulting with one another before using available funds since, as a team, finances will become a common resource for both parties. Doing this is necessary in order to properly manage funds, particularly controlling expenditures to avoid future cases of financial liabilities.
Working as a team also involves learning how to set goals in life together. It is important to make sure that goals are specific and clear to both parties. These targets should also be measurable or quantifiable, especially if these require large amounts of money to be shelled out. Goals should also be attainable and realistic, based on a given time-frame. Set short, medium, and long term goals.
Short-term goals are those that can be achieved within five (5) years, which might include one’s wedding activities, immediate housing needs, having children, among others. Medium-term goals are those that one can reach within ten (10) years, which might include completion of further studies, career changes, business investments, etc. Long-term goals are those that can be achieved in ten (10) years and above. These might include relocating to another neighborhood, traveling abroad, retiring from work, etc.
Having such goals will enable couples to manage their resources well and lessen the likelihood of falling into financial debt or further arrears in the future. It is also important to monitor these goals in line with finances regularly. Settling down with someone indeed requires adjustments in expenses and habits of spending. But such are necessary if one is to keep his/her good financial standing with financial institutions.
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