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Make Ends Meet: Money and Marriage

Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 8:03 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Marriage and money do not always make a perfect match.

According to marriage.com, financial problems are the second-leading cause of divorce, right behind infidelity.

When you are in love and planning your wedding, you need to think about not only how much you’ll pay for the reception and flowers, but you must also consider the most important money issues that will come after saying “I do.”

“The cost of weddings has really increased over the years,” best-selling author and financial guru Rachel Richards said. “Don’t go into debt to have a wedding.”

The average cost of a wedding in Kentucky or Indiana is close to $24,000, according to The Knot, a wedding planning website. Richards’ ability to pinch pennies and create passive income allowed her to retire at the age of 27.

“You don’t want to start off that marriage in debt that you don’t need to necessarily have,” she said. “Twenty grand could be a down payment on an investment property. That could be invested into the stock market and turned into four or five hundred thousand dollars over the decades.”

Richards said she and her husband decided to elope and forego the costly weeding.

“Instead of having a big traditional wedding, we spent $435 to get married,” she said.

The couple now has numerous investment properties. Richards also suggests couples talk about their finances, their budget, their dreams and their goals before walking down the aisle.

”It’s better to have everything out in the open,” Richards said. “That means understanding your partner’s credit score and their debts and their income and their savings.”

That also means knowing how you will handle the money you make and the money you spend as a couple. Richards lays out a few of the techniques that couples can discuss. Each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. She explained what she called the “Proportional Method” first.

“The higher income earner would contribute more to the household bills,” she said. “The problem with that is that the higher income earner could feel penalized that they have to pay more money.”

Second, the “Flat Method.”

“You take your shared household bills and just divide them evenly in half and you’re each contributing the same amount regardless of your income,” Richards said. “The problem with this method is that the low earner might feel penalized.”

The third method is called “Total Combination.”

”You would basically have a joint account, joint credit cards,” Richards said. “You’d pay for everything together. You’re totally combining your finances. The potential problem with this method is that if one person is a spender and one person is a saver, that can create some conflict.”

No matter how much you make or what method you use, the payoff will be mutual if you know your partner’s money mindset.

”The best way to go about it is to have those conversations,” Richards said. “They might feel uncomfortable but at the end of the day, you need to know how you’re going to manage your finances as a couple.”

There are even apps to help you find the system that may fit best for your personalities as a couple and making ends meet.

Below are several of the more popular apps:

+ Twine Savings was created by the insurance giant John Hancock. It allows you to move money from your individual accounts to a shared, linked account with your spouse for the purpose of achieving shared financial goals like buying a car or house or taking a nice vacation. This app also has an investing component.

+ Personal Capital pulls all the couple’s bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment information and retirement accounts together so they can easily be managed and understood. As a couple, this can be a great way for you both to see what’s going on and monitor your overall financial health.

+ Better Haves allows you to create shared envelopes for groceries, rent, utilities as well as individual spending envelopes. Each person can see what’s available overall, and even see what’s going on inside each of the envelopes.

+ Honeydue allows couples to make big-picture plans together, track shared expenses, and even make comments. You can also restrict information from your mate especially if you are using funds to plan a big surprise.

+ EveryDollar was created by finance guru Dave Ramsey. Ramsey believes every dollar has a job. This app will make sure you can track each dollar to make sure it is doing the job you need as a couple. It also has a “local providers” feature to help you find experts in your area who can help you meet your goals.

+ Splitwise can help you keep your finances separate and split expenses. It can easily help you keep track of bills and divvy them up in a way that you agree to.

+ MyFICO can help you both improve your individual credit situations. Your credit scores are separate but as a couple you both want a good standing. Tracking your credit and identifying problem areas (and fixing them), as a couple can help you improve your finances down the road and open you up for additional opportunities.

+ PocketGuard allows you to pull information from bank accounts, credit card accounts and investment accounts. This app also uses advanced categorization. Categorizing certain expenses can help you see where your money is going. You can also create a personalized budget based on your goals as a couple.

+ HoneyFi begins by asking questions about your financial styles and how you manage money as a couple. It also allows you to set up alerts to let you know about transactions. You can even comment on transactions.

Regardless of what method you use to pay your bill,s or even whether you will or will not use an app to manage your finances, talk about it in advance. If problems arise in the marriage, make sure you openly talk through those.

“The more you talk it out the better prepared you’ll be,” Richards said.

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