By JLP | April 19, 2010
My neighbors’ son is getting married in June. Thinking about his wedding, made me think of all the “advice” I have for this couple.
I have a few things I can share from my own experience of being married nearly 17 years:
1. PATIENCE! It takes time for your finances to grow. When I moved to Texas in 1992, the ONLY stuff I brought with me was what I was able to fit in my 1988 Buick Skyhawk. Nearly 18 years later, we have a house full of stuff!
2. Don’t rush into any large purchases. Give yourselves time to adjust to married life before you decide where to live or what to drive.
3. DON’T GET INTO CREDIT CARD DEBT! Avoid it like the plague. You’ll be thankful you did.
4. Create and stick to a BUDGET! It doesn’t have to be super-detailed and it doesn’t have to ruin your life. However, you need to have a grasp on where your money is going.
5. Put money aside for emergencies—even if it’s a small amount. It’s amazing how even a small cushion of a few hundred dollars can help in times of need.
6. Start saving for a down payment on a house as soon as possible.
7. Start saving for retirement as soon as possible. DON’T LET THE ASSET OF TIME GET AWAY FROM YOU. Even if you can only afford to save a small amount each month, save it.
8. If your finances are tight, cut out what you don’t need. My wife and I went without cable for many years.
9. Give each of you an allowance that can be spent on anything you wish and don’t criticize each other’s purchases.
10. Have a grocery budget and plan meal menus.
11. Take your lunch to work.
12. Buy some term life insurance.
13. Sit down together and write out a list of financial goals and talk through the prioritizing of those goals.
14. Decide whether or not you’re going to tithe or give to charity.
15. Seek financial advice from your parents (as long as they are good role models).
16. Read some basic books on financial planning and investing. A great place to start is Jeff Opdyke’s Financially Ever After: The Couples’ Guide to Managing Money and Bill Schultheis’ The New Coffeehouse Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall Street, and Get on with Your Life*. I have not read Opdyke’s book but am very familiar with his style, having read his columns in the Wall Street Journal.
Thoughts? What would you like to offer?