The financial side of matrimony

Marriage isn’t just
about romance and everlasting bliss. It’s also about learning to
deal with joint finances, children and the humdrum minutiae that make
up every day life, yes they are boring and definitely not romantic but they are essential nonetheless.
My Wedding – March 9th 2007
I remember fondly having a conversation with one of my bosses on her wedding anniversary, we were chatting weddings as I had just gotten engaged – when I asked about hers her reply surprised me.  She told me they had had a registry office wedding in jeans and t-shirts, with only a handful of guests and their kids
and instead of a party after – they had gone car shopping (as you do).  She said they were both happy no to get married however being married had more benefits for tax reasons so they just did!

‘Love flies out through the window’

The old saying that
when poverty comes in through the door, love flies out through the
window,’ exemplifies the fact that if you do experience financial
hardship during your marriage, you are more likely to argue. If you
get your finances in order, you can then concentrate on the happier
aspects of your relationship. Don’t be reluctant to seek advice – if
your household income comes to less than £26,000 per year you will
be entitled to certain benefits. Click here
to find out more about those benefits, including child tax credits.

Be realistic and draw up a budget

One way in which a
married couple can deal with any money problems is to work out a
budget at the start of their married relationship. If you have an
accurate idea of the household income and expenditure, then you can
allocate any surplus for treats or you can open a savings account.
Remember to be realistic, certain bills have to be paid on time, and
you should always ensure that you have enough funds in your bank for
your mortgage/rent, council tax, and utilities. You shouldn’t even
dream of going on holiday if you can’t meet these basic expenses,
the problems you’ll return to will only have become worse. A joint
account might help you both deal with these household essentials. You
can always agree that a certain sum can be transferred each month to
your individual accounts.

Children can be expensive

If you are thinking of
having children, then you should set aside a certain portion of your
income each month to meet their needs. Toys, childcare costs, school
uniforms and excursion costs all mount up. The Child Trust Fund
closed in 2011, but the government
suggests that parents take advantage of the Junior ISA scheme, in
order to start a tax-free savings account for their children.

If your circumstances change for the worse

Should one or both of
you lose your job, then go and seek advice immediately. You will
still have to pay your bills despite this change in your
circumstances and the sooner you know what government money you may
be entitled to, the sooner you can revise your budget and plan
accordingly. You’re less likely to argue if you act quickly, and
you’ll feel more secure once you know that you can pay for your
family’s essential expenses. Citizens advice is a great place to start – I have had to visit a  few times since Paul lost his job.

Divorce is always expensive

newspaper recently ran a feature that
suggested that couples should make a prenuptial agreement should
their relationship end in divorce. A staggering 40% of marriages do
break up and one of the ways in which you can reduce your financial
hardship is to sit down with a family lawyer and work out the best
possible outcome for all parties should this unhappy event take
place.  Whenever Paul and I fight I always tell him he couldn’t afford a divorce!
This is a collaborative post



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