During the summer, wedding season is in high gear. It’s common to find couples tying the knot, and getting ready for their lives together. However, as you transition into your roles as newlyweds, it’s important to consider some of the costs that might come with getting married.
As you plan ahead, Leslie Tayne, Esq., a financial attorney, suggests that you make sure to consider the costs of buying a home and starting a family.
Are You Ready to Buy a House?
For many, the American Dream is still synonymous with homeownership. But Tayne cautions newlyweds about jumping right in. “One of the biggest financial
commitments you will be making once you are married is buying a home,” she says. “You need to understand the financial commitment buying a home will be.”
Not everyone is ready to buy a home right off the bat. “Although many couples who are ready to settle down and start a family may think it is a wiser investment to buy
a home, you don’t want to get stuck in a home and not be able to afford the
mortgage payments,” Tayne points out.
Instead, she recommends that you start out by making a budget and living as though you are paying those costs. You should consider not only mortgage payments, but also costs related to utilities, maintenance, taxes, and repairs. Buying a home might be a bigger commitment than you are ready to make right now. Try living on a homeownership budget to see how you do before you sign the papers.
Starting a Family
Hopefully, before you got married, you had a chat about some of the important things in life, such as whether or not you want to have kids. If you are ready to start a family, Tayne says to take a step back and make sure you are financially prepared.
The cost of raising children continues to rise, and Tayne feels that you should be ready for this financial commitment. “You need to consider all the expenses that are associated with both the pre-natal care and raising a child,” she says.
So, how do you know when you’re ready? Unfortunately, you just have to do your best. “There is no magic number to help determine when you are financially ready to have a baby,” Tayne says. However, she suggests that you do your best to pay down your outstanding consumer debt before you get started.
What else should you do? “Once you have done this,” Tayne continues, “you can begin putting aside the money you would have otherwise used toward these debts for saving for your children.”
She also recommends an emergency fund, since you never know what to expect from life — especially when children are involved.
Your couple finances are about more than just the wedding and the honeymoon. You also need to consider how you will conduct your finances after you are married, from whether or not you will combine your accounts to how much you are willing to spend on various purchases.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.