When you’re getting married, you can be super excited! You are about to spend the rest of your life with the man or woman that you love, and you can celebrate your love in front of your family and friends. A lot of people spend more time planning a wedding than they do their marriage, and I’m hoping to help people think about the many other things they should think about during the course of their relationship. Money is going to be a huge factor in your marriage, and the art of saving money is something the two of you should be used to early on. Here are 5 things newlyweds should save up for:
- Their Wedding: The first huge financial hurdle couples will experience is the cost of their wedding. Obviously, you won’t be a newlywed yet, but it’ll be the first event to start your financial life together. I urge you to not start your happily ever after in debt. Yes, your wedding is one of the most important events in your life, and you may feel justified to splurge, but if you don’t have it, don’t spend it. If you’ve been dreaming of a huge wedding, save up huge for it. Put together a wedding fund, and stash as much cash as possible to it. Look for bargains and deals to reduce the cost, and be sure to stick to your budget. The average American wedding is almost $30,000. You do not have to spend this much to have a good time, but if you insist, be sure you have the funds. I encourage you to not finance your wedding.
- A House: Part of the American dream is to own a home of your own. Home ownership is not cheap however; it comes at a price. That previously mentioned $30,000 can be used towards this dream, which will last a lot longer than a day long wedding. Sit down with your spouse, see how much the two of you can afford, and start saving at least 10% for your down payment. Take the advice of millions of Americans who found themselves in foreclosure: only buy a house you can afford! You will thank yourselves later.
- A Family: Hopefully, the two of you have discussed whether you would like to raise a family or not. Children are bundles of joy and can be such a pleasure to have, but they can be quite expensive as well. Babies need a lot of care and require quite a bit of money, including formula, diapers, clothes, and essentials like cribs, car seats, and doctor visits. A lot of parents also don’t realize things may not stop at 18. You may be responsible for paying for your child’s adult education as well when it comes to college. Save up for college early, and research options like 521 savings accounts, scholarships, and grants. Be sure you have the funds to handle the financial stress of children. This is another instance where you shouldn’t have more than you can afford.
- An Emergency: Things happen everyday. A lot of those things can be out of your control. Contrary to your belief, the honeymoon period does end and real life situations occur. It could be a trip to the hospital, a car repair, an expensive home renovation, or a job loss. You’ll want to be prepared. Get used to contributing to an emergency fund, as you’ll need to use it at some point in your marriage. Try to save between 3 months and 1 year’s worth of expenses in an account, so you won’t have to rely on credit cards or loans in the event you need some money.
- Retirement: After the years you spent working and building your career, retirement will be upon you. Depending on how old you are right now, you may not be able to reap the benefits of Social Security or a Pension, so it’s up to you and your spouse to start saving money for retirement on your own. If your company has one, participate in their 401k program, especially if they have any amount of matching involved. Open up an IRA account, or try your hand at investing in stocks and bonds. Adjust your investment style according to how long you have until you need that money. The longer you have until retirement, the more risky you can afford to be with your investments.
Reality hits not long after your honeymoon has ended. You and your spouse are now a team, responsible for things that require money. Bills will come, emergencies will follow, and kids can become a welcomed surprise. Be sure you and your new spouse have the means of tackling these situations as they come.
Briana Myricks is a 20 something freelance writer and blogger. Striving for financial independence as a newlywed, she blogs about young married life at 20 and Engaged.