If you’re a couple planning a wedding while still wanting to work toward other financial goals, have a conversation to set your priorities. Discussing your shared goals helps you figure out the right timeline and budget for each. You don’t have to give up your dream wedding and owning a home or paying down debt. There are many creative ways to trim expenses and increase your income to help free up more funds.
Consider setting up automatic savings contributions to ‘pay yourself first’ to help you make progress toward bolstering your savings. At the same time, you can stay on course for your long-term financial goals by contributing enough to get the full match in your employer-sponsored 401(k) if available.
Because of the importance of having in-depth conversations with your partner about finances, I recommend a few important topics for couples to discuss as they being to plan out their futures:
Establish goals. Go beyond the immediate goals you may have like home ownership, travel or college savings for your kids and also make sure you talk about retirement – specifically, when you’d like to retire and the life you both envision.
Develop a budget. List out all of your expenses so you can really see where your money is going. After you’ve paid the household basics, student loan payments and other routine monthly bills, what are you putting into savings, retirement or other financial products? It’s all about priorities, and transparency with your partner is key.
Create a financial plan. A financial plan is different from a budget – even though it’s pretty common to confuse the two. A financial plan is your roadmap for the future. It takes into account your goals, your savings and your expenses to help ensure you have a positive financial outcome down the road. If you need help creating a financial plan, consult with a financial professional who can help guide through the important conversations and decisions that make the most sense for your family.
It can be challenging to have the frank conversations with your partner – but it is critically important to be able to sit down and talk openly about money, finances and retirement to effectively plan for your future together. If you do it on an ongoing basis, it won’t feel as intimidating.