‘Financial Peace’ for Couples
FranklinIs was able to catch up with nationally syndicated radio host and best-selling author, Dave Ramsey, for some financial advice for betrothed couples and newlyweds:
FI: What general financial advice do you have for betrothed couples and newlyweds?
DR: Marriage counselors say that if a couple can agree on four things before they get married, they have a much higher probability of a successful marriage. The big four are:religion, in-laws, parenting and money. Engaged couples should get premarital counseling that covers the big four and newlyweds should make sure they are on the same page in each area.
FI: Do you have any financial advice for betrothed couples planning their wedding?
DR: Don’t go in debt for a wedding – pay cash. I know every bride wants her fairytale wedding but you’ll have a much better start to your marriage if your wedding bills don’t follow you home from the honeymoon.
FI: At what point should betrothed couples discuss their finances?
DR: Make sure you are on the same page about money before you get married.Find out who’s the spender and who’s the saver and agree on your financial goals. If you don’t agree about money you aren’t ready to get married.
FI: When should betrothed couples join financial accounts?
DR: Not until after the wedding. Talk about money, share specifics about debt and savings but don’t combine anything until after the ceremony. It’s even a good idea to do some practice budgets together but keep your accounts separate until you’re married.
FI: Should newlyweds buy property right away?
DR: As soon as you get engaged everyone starts telling you to buy a house. There are too many adjustments the first year to have to worry about a mortgage and house maintenance. I want you to get a house some day, but rent for the first year and just enjoy being married. There’s plenty of time to buy a house later.
FI: What tips do you have for newlyweds setting their budget?
DR: Opposites attract so more than likely one of you is a nerd and the other a free spirit when it comes to money. The nerd should prepare the budget because he or she loves to do it. After the budget is prepared have a budget committee meeting – both people must be in attendance. The nerd prepared the budget so he or she has had their say so during the meeting they have to listen to the free spirit, take input and keep the meeting brief. The free spirit has to give constructive input and be realistic. Spend every dollar on paper before the month begins and learn to communicate about the budget and you’ll be on track to win at marriage and with money.
FI: What are some ways newlyweds can attack debt?
DR: List your debts smallest to largest. Pay minimum payments on all the debts except the smallest and put everything toward that debt. When the smallest is paid off, move to the next smallest and so on until you have all the debts marked off the list. Attack! Get focused and you’ll knock it out in no time.
FI: What are some financial things a couple should consider before having a baby?
DR: If you’re a newlywed and you’re planning for children a few years down the road, focus on getting rid of any debt and fully funding an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses.
Dave Ramsey’s radio show, “The Dave Ramsey Show,” can be heard Monday through Friday on more than 300 radio stations throughout the United States. For this and more information on his books, classes, and products, please visit his website at: www.daveramsey.com.