If you’re newly married or engaged to be married, few things are more important than discussing your finances with your partner. Regardless of how you structure your accounts, communication is essential!
Setting goals is one of the most important things that many couples fail to accomplish. Whether you’re growing financially or struggling to get by, having a budget and some financial goals are crucial to building your lives together. If you don’t know where to start, consider some of your short term goals. Maybe you want to pay off a credit card (or two!). Maybe it’s saving up for a new car or a down payment on a home. Whatever your goals may be, the best way to work toward them with your partner is for you both to be on the same page about your finances.
Tame the Spending
You will likely have different habits and lifestyle tendencies than your partner. If haven’t lived together before now, getting used to this change can come as a shock to some. This can be even more complicated if one partner earns or spends significantly more than the other. By looking at the sum total of what each of you can afford to spend each month, you can approach a combined lifestyle that is agreeable to you both and your budget. Step one is to cut out the excess. Most of us spend too much money on entertainment or shopping. If this is you, the next step is to revisit your budget and work on self-discipline so that you can stop spending money you don’t have on things that you may not actually need.
Set up Joint Account
When merging finances in a partnership, many couples opt for a joint bank account. It’s as easy as going to the bank together with your personal information and setting up the account. Where it gets tricky is when you have to decide how to communicate about spending money from that account. Some couples choose to retain their separate accounts and contribute a portion of their income to the communal account. Others will decide that it’s better to close their old accounts and commit to just the one joint account.
Communication and Trust
It’s critical that you trust your partner and communicate with them to achieve a healthy financial life together.
If you’ve opted into a joint bank account, you each have full legal rights to the money in the account. It also means that your account could be compromised if your partner gets into a lawsuit or fails to make payments to accounts held in their name like credit cards or utilities.
For legal purposes, also keep in mind what the laws in your state outline about common law status and communal property laws.
It’s important that, in addition to merging your finances, you have a plan in place in case something unfortunate should happen to you or your partner. Living wills, powers of attorney and estate plans are all part of protecting each other, should the worst happen.
The best thing you and your partner can do to secure your future is save money and work toward your savings goals. Whether you’re saving up an emergency fund, planning your investments, or setting aside a retirement nest egg, having a robust savings plan will offer you both security and comfort.
The unfortunate reality for many American couples is that they live paycheck to paycheck and have little to no savings whatsoever. Mounting debt payments and overdue medical bills can pile up creating an aggregate effect that makes it nearly impossible to get ahead. If you’re struggling to make your monthly payments, CreditGUARD can help. Our certified credit counselors can offer you nonprofit debt consolidation and debt management options as well as financial education that will help you work toward a better financial future. Call CreditGUARD today at If you’ve found yourself in a pinch, you may have considered a payday loan. If you’ve never gotten one, stay far away from payday lenders!
Payday Loan Statistics
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that more than 80% of payday loans get rolled over into or followed up with a new loan within two weeks of the initial payday loan. Often, these loans set off a chain reaction—half of them are in a sequence that’s at least 10 loans long.
Let’s just stop right there.
10 loans long. This means that two things are true—the borrower can’t afford their own lifestyle, and they also can’t afford to repay the payday loan.
Why Consider a Payday Loan in the First Place?
Most people using this kind of loan aren’t getting these loans to pay for an emergency or a special purchase. Nearly ¾ of borrowers with payday loans took them out to pay for recurring expenses like debt payments.
Now, there are a lot of reasons that a person may not be able to make their recurring payments — a loss of a job, a health situation, a decrease in household income — it’s not a moral problem. Good people fall into difficult circumstances all the time.
Avoiding Financial Predators
The payday lenders are predators.
Remember the children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”? The predators are a lot like the mouse. They offer a seemingly easy way out of today’s problem by offering you a much worse problem tomorrow. They keep coming back for more of your money. Many payday loans come with terms of just a few weeks, plus they carry alarming annual interest rates of up to 300 percent or more. Additionally, most will have high startup fees and aggressive due dates. These features can add substantially to their total cost. Borrowers who fall behind on their payments or suffer unexpected setbacks like job loss can quickly become overwhelmed by this debt burden.
There Is a Solution
If you struggle with high credit card debt and a meager income, you’re probably looking for ways to bolster your finances. Many consumers who deal with similar problems turn to payday lenders for access to short-term capital. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, if it seems too easy maybe it’s too good to be true. Taking a payday loan can have unintended and often severe consequences putting you in an even worse place from where you were when you took the loan.
Trust your gut that you can weather this financial storm. The worst time to make such a decision is when you feel there is no other way out. Call one of our counselors. Let us help by giving you practical advice. In the meantime, don’t sell yourself short – payday loans are never a good thing to do, no matter how you try to swing it. Why not start turning things around with helpful tips from our debt management articles?
And if it’s credit card debt or other unsecured debt that keeps you up at night, CreditGUARD’s certified credit counselors can work with your creditors to reduce your rate and stop harassing calls. Give us a call today at 800-500-6489.