Almost every bride-to-be will admit it; in the run up to her wedding day, it can be hard to envisage married life beyond the stunning gown, the beautiful flowers and the excitement of friends and family. Indeed, most couples will become so consumed by the big day itself that the ‘after’ in ‘happily ever after’ is temporarily forgotten in the midst of decision making, planning and general ‘wedmin’. Moreover, sitting down as a couple to talk about your soon to be joint finances can seem unglamorous at best, and at worst, a daunting prospect.
But don’t fear, as our new BCME expert panel member and wealth and wellness coach, Rasheda Khatun Khan at www.rashedakhatun.com, is here with her first post to talk you through the important task of aligning your financial goals. Below, you will find out why this is so crucial to the longevity of your relationship and how to work together to find out what you both want to achieve, financially speaking, in order to secure a comfortable and happy future together.
Now that the wedding is all under control, it’s time to get to get to grips with life after the BIG DAY. What’s life going to be like now? What future do we want to create together? When shall we start a family? Who pays for what bills? These are some questions you may be asking or have even started a discussion about.
Aligning your life goals will help you build a solid foundation for a great life-lasting marriage. One of the biggest areas committed couples should master is aligning their financial lives and working together to build a solid financial future as a family. Money can easily become a source of conflict; in fact, research shows that financial distress is the number one cause of divorce and the number one cause of ill health. Neither of these are good for any marriage.
The way we spend money is practically an expression of who we are. By looking at someone’s finances you can quite accurately guess what their fundamental beliefs and most important values are. When a couple’s finances are not aligned with each other, money can create a big divide in the relationship, and when they are aligned you can easily express your highest values together. Quite simply, the way you handle money affects how happy you are in your marriage.
So how to get started? For many committed couples this is not an easy conversation to have. It’s often ‘the elephant in the room’. So…
1) Pick a happy moment and open up a conversation about some of your long-term goals. Start with the ones you already know of each other. Get excited about them, as now you get to really help each other achieve those goals.
2) Pick an agreed time to sit down to write up your life goals together – keep it light and exciting because it is light and exciting! Focus on what you are trying to achieve not what you are fearful about. Agree that during this goal planning session you will start to create a realistic financial plan to help you accomplish your joint goals.
Next… Time for the session.
1) Grab yourselves a cup of tea and set yourselves up around the dinner table with a big sheet of paper and perhaps your laptop. It’s time to get financially naked. Knowing where you stand and what you want to achieve builds trust and strengthens your teamwork.
2) Out of all the goals find out what are each of your top three and put them in a timeline so you know what you want and by when. Ask each other what are the top money lessons you learnt growing up? Find out what worries each of you most about money and what each other’s retirement wishes are.
3) Align your common three goals and make a plan to achieve them.
4) Make this a monthly or quarterly session.
Couples that plan together financially stay together. Get started on aligning your goals and create the future you both want.