Common Money Myths and How to Stop Believing Them

By Mary Hunt

October 30, 2019 5 min read

The wedding was complicated and expensive. But it's over, and you are ready to settle back and enjoy your new life together. I'm here to warn you about some common money myths that newlyweds have been known to bring with them into their marriages.

But wait. You're not a newlywed? No one is immune to believing these myths. No matter your marital status, learn these lies about money so you can stop believing them. It will improve your life.

MYTH: DOUBLE THE INCOME MEANS HALF THE EXPENSES

This is what I call fuzzy newlywed math: merging your lives and incomes into one household is the equivalent of getting a raise. It goes like this:

When we live together, we split the rent or mortgage payment; we share the utilities and household expenses. We'll have twice as much money.

Don't believe that, not for a second. While there may be some truth in sharing expenses, the outcome is not what you think. Been there, done that. Trust me. Most likely, more money will immediately lead to more spending.

COUNTER THE MYTH

Start out living on only one income, and save the second paycheck. This will require you to go 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: 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.

If you cannot pay the credit card balance in full each month, or if the mortgage payment including insurance, taxes and maintenance is more than 30% of your net income, you can't afford it.

COUNTER THE MYTH

Never think of a credit card company, real estate agent or mortgage broker as a financial advisor. They are salespeople looking to close deals. They have no idea what your true day-to-day money picture looks like.

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, when things are tight, and you are struggling to get going. But that's a myth.

The truth is you cannot afford to go one more day without a savings commitment for many reasons:

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. You will want to retire.

COUNTER THE MYTH

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 right now, if not sooner. Put it into a savings account to keep it out of reach. Never fail to save some part of all you receive.

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 THE MYTH

Decide right now that you are going to do whatever it takes to live below your means, get out of debt and then go on to debt-proof your marriage.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, "Ask Mary a Question." This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Pexels at Pixabay

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