The wedding was beautiful and fulfilled your fondest dreams. But it's over, and now it's time to settle in and enjoy your new life together. Lucky for you, I'm here to warn you about some common money myths that newlyweds have been known to bring with them into their marriages.
MYTH: DOUBLE THE INCOME, HALF THE EXPENSES
This is what I call newlywed fuzzy math: Merging your lives and incomes into one household is the equivalent of getting a raise. Don't believe that, not for a second.
Counter: Start out living on only one income, and save the rest. This will require going against everything the culture insists you deserve, but it will allow you to move seamlessly into parenthood. When that day comes, you'll have an impressive savings account and options. And a gallery of envious friends.
MYTH: THERE'S STUFF WE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
No, there isn't. But it will be easy to convince yourselves that you absolutely must have matching furniture, new cars, and all kinds of gadgets and services to make your lives easier and keep up with your friends.
Counter: Make a pact that you will never go into debt for "stuff." Period.
MYTH: IF WE QUALIFY, WE CAN AFFORD IT
Whether it's a new credit card or a new nothing-down, interest-only mortgage for a house that, in your hearts, you know you cannot afford, never allow your ability to qualify to be the determining factor. Getting in over your heads in a house or credit card debt is the recipe for a marital disaster.
Counter: Never think of a credit card company, real estate agent or mortgage broker as a financial adviser. They are salespeople looking to close deals. Get advice from a wise person who will not benefit financially from the decision you make.
MYTH: WE HAVE PLENTY OF TIME
It does seem as though you have a lifetime ahead. And that you don't really need to save money now, while things are tight. But that's a myth.
The truth is you cannot afford to go one more day without a savings commitment for many reasons. You will want to retire. You do not want to feel forced into debt when something unexpected happens. You do not want to get used to spending all that you have. You want to create a sense of security and peace in your marriage.
Counter: See 10% of your net income as a mandatory financial obligation, just like your rent or mortgage payment. Pay it to yourselves, without fail, starting now
MYTH: SOME MONEY ISSUES ARE BEST KEPT PRIVATE
Whether it's student debt or a secret credit card account, keeping money secrets from your beloved is not good for your marriage. You might be able to pull off financial infidelity for a while, but eventually, it will come back to bite you.
Counter: Start out with a commitment to full disclosure and total honesty. That will build something into your marriage that money cannot buy: trust.
MYTH: EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE AS SOON AS WE MAKE MORE MONEY
It does make sense that if you are struggling now, you won't once you get a big raise or finish school or get your grandmother's inheritance or win the lottery. The truth is that more money will never be enough until you learn how to manage the money you already have.
Counter: Make the necessary adjustments now to live beneath your means. That will ensure that when more money comes into your lives, you'll know exactly how to take care of it.
MYTH: IT'S TOO LATE
No matter how long you've been married or how difficult your situation may appear, it's not too late. It will take longer and be more challenging, but you can turn your situation around. Two people committed to reaching a single goal create a powerful force.
Counter: Decide right now that you are going to do whatever it takes to debt-proof your marriage!
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."
Photo credit: scottwebb at Pixabay