Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

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PQ12$
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Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by PQ12$ » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am

Hi - We live in a HCOL city in the Northeast, where my wife and I sit each month with 50-60 young engaged couples preparing for marriage. The average age is 31 and they come from all walks of life, education, ethnicity, etc. One of the talks we do is a "finance talk" in which we try to share tips and tricks for managing, saving, investing money as a couple. For example -- Do you merge money "pots" into one or keep separate? Save for a house or save for retirement? The importance of budgeting, saving early and often, living below your means, communication, honesty, etc.

If you could offer advice to these couples just starting out together, what would you say? What has your experience been and what did you learn from it? We'd like to share some of your insights/wisdom with them, and encourage them to become lifelong students of finance (as we have become thanks to this site).

LawyersGunsAndMoney
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by LawyersGunsAndMoney » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:05 am

Keep it simple and broad for a gen pop audience. Save the advanced Bogleheads stuff for those who are really interested.

Don't go into extreme debt for a college education
Don't marry the wrong person
Don't buy new cars you can't afford
Don't buy more house than you can safely afford

That'll literally address almost every cause of major financial trouble that's addressable ("dont get sick" isn't really that actionable).

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:14 am

Avalanche from day #1 and pay off your debts.
If you don't have 20% down payment for a house, you aren't nearly ready to buy a house.
If you live like a student, the above will be easy and you'll get to a point where you wonder what you're going to do with "all this extra money".

(this is what we did)
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

RadAudit
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Location: Second star on the right and straight on 'til morning

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by RadAudit » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:15 am

Financially, it really helps if you are both in a agreement and on the same page with respect to your long and short term goals.

But, what do I know?

On a personal note, on the investing vs. speculation continuum of personal finance, I found you need to know enough - but what you need to know is surprisingly simple and small given what's out there - that only took 30+ years after college to come to that revelation. See Start Here at the top of the page -

The Bogleheads® Philosophy
Develop a workable plan
Invest early and often
Never bear too much or too little risk
Never try to time the market
Use index funds when possible
Keep costs low
Diversify
Minimize taxes
Keep it simple
Stay the course
Watch the videos
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

Thegame14
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Thegame14 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:37 am

The number one money advice is the biggest money mistake you could ever make is marrying the wrong person, divorce costs you more than 50% of everything....

smitcat
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:50 am

PQ12$ wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am
Hi - We live in a HCOL city in the Northeast, where my wife and I sit each month with 50-60 young engaged couples preparing for marriage. The average age is 31 and they come from all walks of life, education, ethnicity, etc. One of the talks we do is a "finance talk" in which we try to share tips and tricks for managing, saving, investing money as a couple. For example -- Do you merge money "pots" into one or keep separate? Save for a house or save for retirement? The importance of budgeting, saving early and often, living below your means, communication, honesty, etc.

If you could offer advice to these couples just starting out together, what would you say? What has your experience been and what did you learn from it? We'd like to share some of your insights/wisdom with them, and encourage them to become lifelong students of finance (as we have become thanks to this site).
It sounds like you maybe giving out both financial and potentially legal advice to a very diverse crowd that you know very little about.
That could/would typically lead to unintended poor results.
I have no idea how you would avoid that.....

260chrisb
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by 260chrisb » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:51 am

Certainly marrying the right person is important but not always easy! Develop and communicate a financial plan that you BOTH agree to and understand without going to the extremes, and combines most or all of your money. Similar and focused financial goals based on a livable plan will go a long way. There is nothing worse than a spouse (usually for some reason it's the wife) who has no knowledge of or any involvement with the finances, especially long term. Earn, spend, save, and have fun but do it together starting NOW! If one of you has bad habits, they will not get better on their own later on in the marriage.

ohai
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by ohai » Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:52 am

Hi, OP. I am interested in what you think about shared financial decision making.

In particular, what happens if one spouse wants to make a financial purchase, but it is opposed by the other spouse? Let's say I want to buy a new car and believe it is necessary. However, wife thinks I do not need to buy this car. What is the tie breaker, or should it follow the more conservative opinion?

deltaneutral83
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:00 am

smitcat wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:50 am
It sounds like you maybe giving out both financial and potentially legal advice to a very diverse crowd that you know very little about.
That could/would typically lead to unintended poor results.
I have no idea how you would avoid that.....
I think OP is sticking to the headliners of "spend less than you make...Communicate....use 401k....understand healthcare options..." and not so much of entity specific advice.

Bruce T
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Bruce T » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:02 am

I'll offer some non-financial advice - it does however provide good foundation for financial matters but also for many other matters in a marriage as well!

A marriage is (obviously) a trust ... ergo:
1. the partners in a marriage should always act in a manner that has the best interests of the marriage and their partner in mind ... and - as importantly -
2. when there is conflict, misunderstanding, etc., each partner (A) should start from a place of assuming that the other partner (B) has tried to act with the best interest of the marriage and in the best interest of (A).

If you can truly and consistently honor both of those off, then you'll be able to overcome many challenges because you can quickly move beyond doubts about motivations (why's) and focus on far more easily dealt with "mechanical" issues (e.g. when's and how's).

That's all pretty obvious to many (or at least intellectually understood) - but amazingly neither understood nor acted upon by some ... in any event, I hope all that is more useful than sappy.

Best wishes for a successful partnership!
Bruce

PS - by using the above, my wife and I have had no issues lumping our incoming and savings together and making joint decisions when that makes sense but also trusting the other to be judicious when joint decisions are unnecessary or impractical... that may not work for others all the time, but it works for us!

Lafder
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Lafder » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:03 am

When my husband and I combined finances we made a "200 $ rule" which was any expense over 200 from "our" money we should discuss with the other before making. I suggest couples try it, with whatever $ amount applies in their situation.

We joke that it still exists..........and in principal it does. But in practicality car repairs, utility bills, shopping trip at Costco can be over and we don't get permission.

The idea is that any non-necessity purchase over a certain amount should be a shared decision, or at least we should both know about it even if one person IS buying it.

Things like savings, paying down debt, maxing retirement accounts as a "necessity" expense if there is enough to live on after should all be discussed. Planning for vacations. As well as who actually pays the bills and "manages" finances or is it a joint effort.

The question of buying what you CAN afford versus SHOULD spend is a topic too, and up for debate :), in all budget ranges.

lafder

Thegame14
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Thegame14 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:10 am

Also couples should take advantage to stay home as long as they can, have an emergency fund, put 20% down to buy a house, and be on the same page with saving/spending.

We do separate accounts, but that works for us, others do joint and that works for them, as long as spending is fair, even and after all the bills and saving for retirement.

Save 10% for retirement immediately, it is not something to do later in life, or after you get a house.

only put on a CC what you can pay off when bill is due.

don't spend lots of money on cars or vacations.

smitcat
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:13 am

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:00 am
smitcat wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:50 am
It sounds like you maybe giving out both financial and potentially legal advice to a very diverse crowd that you know very little about.
That could/would typically lead to unintended poor results.
I have no idea how you would avoid that.....
I think OP is sticking to the headliners of "spend less than you make...Communicate....use 401k....understand healthcare options..." and not so much of entity specific advice.
This is what was posted....
"Do you merge money "pots" into one or keep separate? Save for a house or save for retirement? The importance of budgeting, saving early and often, living below your means, communication, honesty, etc."

KlangFool
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by KlangFool » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:14 am

PQ12$ wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am

If you could offer advice to these couples just starting out together, what would you say? What has your experience been and what did you learn from it? We'd like to share some of your insights/wisdom with them, and encourage them to become lifelong students of finance (as we have become thanks to this site).
PQ12$,

Don't buy a house. That would be the key decision that swarms all other decision. Do this wrong. Nothing else matters.

KlangFool

deltaneutral83
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:15 am

Lafder wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:03 am
When my husband and I combined finances we made a "200 $ rule" which was any expense over 200 from "our" money we should discuss with the other before making. I suggest couples try it, with whatever $ amount applies in their situation.
Just curious, most of what you describe (and most other marriage threads) makes the assumption that married couple basically entered the marriage broke and the subsequent reasoning is logical in that once you are married, assets are shared. But what if someone has substantial assets, knowledge of investing (both real estate and indexing), prudent day to day money habits, etc. etc. where transactions over $10,000 are made frequently. How exactly should this work if the other spouse is essentially broke or small NW but also good money habits just not at a typical age where assets have been accumulated? I've seen plenty of BH start topics like "NW 6-7 figures, getting married, etc etc."

oldfatguy
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by oldfatguy » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:24 am

PQ12$ wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am
Hi - We live in a HCOL city in the Northeast, where my wife and I sit each month with 50-60 young engaged couples preparing for marriage. The average age is 31 and they come from all walks of life, education, ethnicity, etc. One of the talks we do is a "finance talk" in which we try to share tips and tricks for managing, saving, investing money as a couple.

What is your relationship with these couples, and why are you giving them "talks" if you aren't already sure about what to tell them?

smitcat
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Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by smitcat » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:42 am

Thegame14 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:10 am
Also couples should take advantage to stay home as long as they can, have an emergency fund, put 20% down to buy a house, and be on the same page with saving/spending.

We do separate accounts, but that works for us, others do joint and that works for them, as long as spending is fair, even and after all the bills and saving for retirement.

Save 10% for retirement immediately, it is not something to do later in life, or after you get a house.

only put on a CC what you can pay off when bill is due.

don't spend lots of money on cars or vacations.
These are mostly personal rules that may or may not be appropriate for others.
The problems with posts like these are that most 'rules' do not apply unilaterally across all couples.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:50 am

Put your money in one pot. The money goes in and goes out of the same pot for paying family expenses: rent, taxes, car, utilities, clothing, food, health, vacations. If you can not trust each other with a jointly held bank account and checking account, do not get married to each other. Money is one of the biggest factors in staying together or breaking apart. Each month, sit down together and balance the checking account.

Keep a small account for both man and wife - use it to buy each other gifts, small spending.

Take a sum of money each week and use it or not as an allowance for weekly spend money.

Stop trying to be the Jonses's next door.

If you can not pay the credit card bill in full each month, then do not use the credit card! Pay cash, or wait until you have the cash to buy it.

Those who earn interest, keep it, those who pay interest, say goodbye to their money forever.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Jags4186
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:15 am
Lafder wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:03 am
When my husband and I combined finances we made a "200 $ rule" which was any expense over 200 from "our" money we should discuss with the other before making. I suggest couples try it, with whatever $ amount applies in their situation.
Just curious, most of what you describe (and most other marriage threads) makes the assumption that married couple basically entered the marriage broke and the subsequent reasoning is logical in that once you are married, assets are shared. But what if someone has substantial assets, knowledge of investing (both real estate and indexing), prudent day to day money habits, etc. etc. where transactions over $10,000 are made frequently. How exactly should this work if the other spouse is essentially broke or small NW but also good money habits just not at a typical age where assets have been accumulated? I've seen plenty of BH start topics like "NW 6-7 figures, getting married, etc etc."
The wealthy person would need to come to an agreement with their to be broke spouse before the marriage on what the expectations are. Fortunately (unfortunately?) most are not in this position.

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.

PoppyA
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by PoppyA » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:59 am

+1 grt2boutdoors
“Your labor income makes you rich, not your investments.”

WillRetire
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by WillRetire » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:47 am

ohai wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:52 am
Hi, OP. I am interested in what you think about shared financial decision making.

In particular, what happens if one spouse wants to make a financial purchase, but it is opposed by the other spouse? Let's say I want to buy a new car and believe it is necessary. However, wife thinks I do not need to buy this car. What is the tie breaker, or should it follow the more conservative opinion?
This would be a very interesting exercise to have each couple discuss, or role play. Rather than the speaker or facilitator giving the answers, just set up the scenario and have the couple talk it out. They'll learn more about each other. Sure, there may be arguments, but that's OK, they need to learn how to discuss things on which they disagree.

WillRetire
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by WillRetire » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:53 am

Have the couples do a working session where they create a budget, and also calculate amounts saved and invested over time.

Then the first child arrives... how does the budget change?

Thegame14
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Thegame14 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:01 am

WillRetire wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:47 am
ohai wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:52 am
Hi, OP. I am interested in what you think about shared financial decision making.

In particular, what happens if one spouse wants to make a financial purchase, but it is opposed by the other spouse? Let's say I want to buy a new car and believe it is necessary. However, wife thinks I do not need to buy this car. What is the tie breaker, or should it follow the more conservative opinion?
This would be a very interesting exercise to have each couple discuss, or role play. Rather than the speaker or facilitator giving the answers, just set up the scenario and have the couple talk it out. They'll learn more about each other. Sure, there may be arguments, but that's OK, they need to learn how to discuss things on which they disagree.
If you are on the same page on spending from day 1, this is a long term discussion that happens YEARS before a purchase is every necessary. Buying a car is NEVER an impulse decision.

daheld
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by daheld » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:11 am

Talk about money before you're married.

I have been astounded to learn how many folks our age (mid thirties) are married to people with whom they did not discuss finances before being married. My wife and I are 100% combined everything--checking, savings, etc. We discuss finances regularly and are on the same page in terms of savings, retirement, and the like. I think this is the best approach. However, I'm willing to concede there's more than one way to skin a cat, and I'm sure folks who do it other ways have healthy, successful marriages.

The bottom line is that if you don't talk about these things BEFORE you're married, you don't know what you're getting yourself into. Before saying "I do", you should have an idea of how much your future partner makes, how much debt they have, what their savings and retirement goals are, and how they generally think about saving and spending money. None of these things in and of themselves are deal breakers, but at the very least you should know the answers to these questions.

deltaneutral83
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:14 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am
The wealthy person would need to come to an agreement with their to be broke spouse before the marriage on what the expectations are. Fortunately (unfortunately?) most are not in this position.

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.
I see your point but this is BH, not everyday people; I also see a lot of people posting about "windfalls this and that," "just sold my biz for $2M," "I created an app in Palo Alto sold it to google," etc. etc. where some people in their 20's and early 30's already have substantial net worths before marriage. I would be genuinely curious as to how a pre marriage counselor would treat that. I think it's a no brainer if both have NW below $250k to pretty much view everything as shared because it pretty much is. I can also see how someone with a $500k net worth prior to nuptials wouldn't want to bother with informing anyone of a $200 purchase or whatever but also that sum of money isn't nearly high enough to warrant a pre nupt? I completely understand how this works for the masses and the boiler plate stuff of "you are one, same checking account, spend less than you make" etc. etc.

CommitmentDevice
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by CommitmentDevice » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:32 am

First of all - vision/value/story - a couple needs to articulate and respectfully listen to how each person was raised to relate to money and their current values. Money Habitudes deck could be useful https://www.moneyhabitudes.com/

Then, have them articulate their vision for finances in the future - both meeting long term goals and day to day. Probably a simple financial plan worksheet could be good.

Then it gets into tactics. The "how" that will help them connect their day-to-day actions with their desired results.

Here are some tactics/systems that young couples might appreciate:
  • A family Mint account that shows the family's checking/credit cards/assets/investments/debt. That'll give them a log of transactions, visibility into trends and a snapshot of net worth
  • A monthly family finances huddle. 30min. Skim Mint then answer the following questions: Are we living within our means? Are we investing appropriately for our future? Anything else, financially, we need to talk about?
  • A join Ally checking account and a join Citi Double Cash credit card for expenses. A joint Ally high interest savings account for safety net
  • LastPass accounts so passwords are safe and can [optionally] be shared between each partner's password manager account
  • Automate the good stuff. Specifically, set up auto-deposits into retirement

Hockey10
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Hockey10 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:13 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:50 am
Put your money in one pot. The money goes in and goes out of the same pot for paying family expenses: rent, taxes, car, utilities, clothing, food, health, vacations. If you can not trust each other with a jointly held bank account and checking account, do not get married to each other. Money is one of the biggest factors in staying together or breaking apart.
This is what my wife and I did early on. After 30 years of marriage, it has worked well.

However, a cautionary tale.... A friend of mine got married about 20 years ago. After about a year, his wife cleaned out their joint accounts (about $30,000) and disappeared, never to be heard from again.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:31 pm

Hockey10 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:13 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:50 am
Put your money in one pot. The money goes in and goes out of the same pot for paying family expenses: rent, taxes, car, utilities, clothing, food, health, vacations. If you can not trust each other with a jointly held bank account and checking account, do not get married to each other. Money is one of the biggest factors in staying together or breaking apart.
This is what my wife and I did early on. After 30 years of marriage, it has worked well.

However, a cautionary tale.... A friend of mine got married about 20 years ago. After about a year, his wife cleaned out their joint accounts (about $30,000) and disappeared, never to be heard from again.
He got off cheaply.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Jags4186
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:35 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:14 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am
The wealthy person would need to come to an agreement with their to be broke spouse before the marriage on what the expectations are. Fortunately (unfortunately?) most are not in this position.

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.
I see your point but this is BH, not everyday people; I also see a lot of people posting about "windfalls this and that," "just sold my biz for $2M," "I created an app in Palo Alto sold it to google," etc. etc. where some people in their 20's and early 30's already have substantial net worths before marriage. I would be genuinely curious as to how a pre marriage counselor would treat that. I think it's a no brainer if both have NW below $250k to pretty much view everything as shared because it pretty much is. I can also see how someone with a $500k net worth prior to nuptials wouldn't want to bother with informing anyone of a $200 purchase or whatever but also that sum of money isn't nearly high enough to warrant a pre nupt? I completely understand how this works for the masses and the boiler plate stuff of "you are one, same checking account, spend less than you make" etc. etc.
Again that is discussed beforehand. Maybe the number is $1000. Maybe it is $50. Maybe it is “making a non-prudent purchase”.

I still inform my wife before I spend $10 on lottery tickets every now and then because it is essentially lighting money on fire. If she was so against it I wouldn’t buy it.

Successful marriages are generally built on shared values. If you’re a miser looking to save 70% of your income and retiring at 35 and your wife who has a penchant for designer handbags or a husband who has a sports car habit it probably won’t work. That matters whether you have $100 million or $100.

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dratkinson
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by dratkinson » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:06 pm

I've read and give this list of books as a graduation gift. Believe they cover the basics young folks need to know.
--The Only Investment Guide You’ll Every Need, Tobias. Covers general personal finance topics*.
--The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing. Structured overview of wise investing for retirement.
--Date...or Soul Mate, Warren. Priceless if it helps avoid the expense of a bad marriage/divorce.

* Can substitute How to Make the Most of Your Money, Quinn, if the brides-to-be would rather read about personal finance from a woman's perspective. I haven't read it but many on the forum recommend it.


Maybe suggest these to your audience as a reading list, to read/discuss with their partner before marriage.

Or... maybe give as a homework assignment to have read before they come to your class... so the topics can be discussed in class.

Your choice.
d.r.a, not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

oldfatguy
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by oldfatguy » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:24 pm

Hockey10 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:13 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:50 am
Put your money in one pot. The money goes in and goes out of the same pot for paying family expenses: rent, taxes, car, utilities, clothing, food, health, vacations. If you can not trust each other with a jointly held bank account and checking account, do not get married to each other. Money is one of the biggest factors in staying together or breaking apart.
This is what my wife and I did early on. After 30 years of marriage, it has worked well.

However, a cautionary tale.... A friend of mine got married about 20 years ago. After about a year, his wife cleaned out their joint accounts (about $30,000) and disappeared, never to be heard from again.
We had joint accounts in my first marriage, as well. When my wife moved out after 10 years, we agreed to keep the joint accounts open for the time being, to make it easier to continue paying bills, since we had not yet decided to divorce. Shortly after, she drained all the accounts and hid the money. I won't make that mistake again.

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Watty
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Watty » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:30 pm

A couple of things that worked for me;

1) Never carry a credit card balance that you don't pay off each month.

2) When I was younger I committed to myself that I would save half of any future pay raises. This is painless since you never see any of the money. If you start doing this when you are 30 and already saving 5% then by the time you are in your 40's you can be saving a significant percentage of your income.

3) I have a very simple spreadsheet that I update each year with my net worth on January 1st. That lets me see my progress over the years.

4) When you get a car paid off keep making your "car payment" to a seperate account so that you will have enough to pay cash for your next car.

I wish I could remember where I read it but in some book or article I read it outlined the importance of knowing things in investing that you can control and things you can't control like picking out performing stocks or market timing.

The things you can control are;

1) How much you save or spend each year.
2) Your asset allocation.
3) Keeping investing costs low which a lot more important than many people realize.

That is pretty much it, there really is not a lot else that you can control well when it comes to investing. The neat thing is that these three things are pretty easy to understand and manage.

crossbow
Posts: 137
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:47 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by crossbow » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:55 pm

Mostly to the husband but sometimes wife: save for the Ferrari, buy the Mitsubishi.

BullHouse_BearMarket
Posts: 12
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by BullHouse_BearMarket » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:36 am

My wife and I are 30 and have been married for 4 years. This is what has worked for us:

1) Figure out what you both want in the future. Where you want to live, idea of a house size/price, Career aspirations, retirement goals, etc. and then make a plan, or several plans because nothing ever works out the exact way envisioned.

2) We have a Joint Checking account and Joint Savings Account. We each put 70% of our income into the checking with the other 30% going into our personal accounts. That way, we never have to ask permission to spend money on something like a golf outing, new gadget, etc. because we spend money from our own accounts. Also we use our own accounts to purchase gifts for each other. The Joint Checking pays the mortgage, cars, insurance, builds savings, etc.

3) Discuss any debts that exist and develop a plan to pay them off. Have an honest conversation about spending habits and use of credit cards. Secret credit card debt is a quick way to ruin trust.

4) Keep an updated expense list and budget. We like to use the cash budget method and each week. We separate that budget into Groceries, Entertainment, Home Improvement, and Miscellaneous. Be strict with that weekly budget and whatever isn't spent from each category goes into the "rainy day fund." That fund has saved us big time on unexpected large expenses, replacing HVAC Units, and has also been nice to use for little weekend getaways.

5) Communication is key. Always be honest and talk to each other about how their day went. This open communication makes it easier to discuss times of stress and avoids a lot of arguments because you held things inside until they burst out of you in anger.

6) Do things together. Seems obvious but many couples watch TV in different rooms, refuse to participate in hobbies/activities that the other is interested in, and basically aren't involved in the others life. Down time is important but so is developing common interests. This is the person you have chosen to spend your life with, so make the effort and actually spend your life with them.

I know we are young and still new to marriage, but so far these things have worked for us.

fru-gal
Posts: 585
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by fru-gal » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:01 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.
Because they want to be married, but they're old enough to have seen marriages fall apart in big messes, including financial messes.

wannabedebtfreejared
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:37 am

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by wannabedebtfreejared » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:59 am

+1 BullHouse_BearMarket

Jags4186
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:42 pm

fru-gal wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:01 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.
Because they want to be married, but they're old enough to have seen marriages fall apart in big messes, including financial messes.
If you’re choosing to live completely separate financial lives that’s fine. But that wasn’t the question posed. The question posed was what happens when one person comes into the marriage with more money than the other person but not enough to be prenup worthy. Phrased “why would someone coming into a marriage with $500k have an arbitrary $200 spending limit before discussing with their spouse.” Once you’re married you’ve chosen to effectively give up sole decision making authority and replace it with group decision making. Decisions you make need to be joint decisions. Every couple needs to work out a plan that works for them, even older folks on second marriages keeping their finances completely separate. What happens when one part of a “completely separate” arrangement can’t come up with their half of the monthly expenses one day? It needs to be a question asked and answered. There are no guarantees in life.

That said, I don’t see the rush to get married if you’re not willing to act as a unit—regardless of whether you have separate or combined accounts.

fru-gal
Posts: 585
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:48 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by fru-gal » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:05 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:42 pm
fru-gal wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:01 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.
Because they want to be married, but they're old enough to have seen marriages fall apart in big messes, including financial messes.
If you’re choosing to live completely separate financial lives that’s fine. But that wasn’t the question posed. The question posed was what happens when one person comes into the marriage with more money than the other person but not enough to be prenup worthy. Phrased “why would someone coming into a marriage with $500k have an arbitrary $200 spending limit before discussing with their spouse.” Once you’re married you’ve chosen to effectively give up sole decision making authority and replace it with group decision making. Decisions you make need to be joint decisions. Every couple needs to work out a plan that works for them, even older folks on second marriages keeping their finances completely separate. What happens when one part of a “completely separate” arrangement can’t come up with their half of the monthly expenses one day? It needs to be a question asked and answered. There are no guarantees in life.

That said, I don’t see the rush to get married if you’re not willing to act as a unit—regardless of whether you have separate or combined accounts.
Consider being at the hospital, and your partner isn't recognized as having any rights unless you've lawyered up and carry around paperwork everywhere.

Jags4186
Posts: 3452
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:07 pm

fru-gal wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:05 pm
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:42 pm
fru-gal wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:01 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:53 am

If you can’t jump in feet first to the marriage I don’t understand why you are getting married.
Because they want to be married, but they're old enough to have seen marriages fall apart in big messes, including financial messes.
If you’re choosing to live completely separate financial lives that’s fine. But that wasn’t the question posed. The question posed was what happens when one person comes into the marriage with more money than the other person but not enough to be prenup worthy. Phrased “why would someone coming into a marriage with $500k have an arbitrary $200 spending limit before discussing with their spouse.” Once you’re married you’ve chosen to effectively give up sole decision making authority and replace it with group decision making. Decisions you make need to be joint decisions. Every couple needs to work out a plan that works for them, even older folks on second marriages keeping their finances completely separate. What happens when one part of a “completely separate” arrangement can’t come up with their half of the monthly expenses one day? It needs to be a question asked and answered. There are no guarantees in life.

That said, I don’t see the rush to get married if you’re not willing to act as a unit—regardless of whether you have separate or combined accounts.
Consider being at the hospital, and your partner isn't recognized as having any rights unless you've lawyered up and carry around paperwork everywhere.
What does that have to do with the relevant discussion? I agree that there are tangible benefits of marriage. I don’t agree that people should get married if they aren’t willing to work together as a unit. Other’s may have different values than me and that’s fine.

robphoto
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:42 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by robphoto » Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:53 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:14 am
PQ12$ wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am

If you could offer advice to these couples just starting out together, what would you say? What has your experience been and what did you learn from it? We'd like to share some of your insights/wisdom with them, and encourage them to become lifelong students of finance (as we have become thanks to this site).
PQ12$,

Don't buy a house. That would be the key decision that swarms all other decision. Do this wrong. Nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Not sure what you mean by this? Certainly, don't overspend, but an appropriate house can be part of a stable, prosperous life.

KlangFool
Posts: 12958
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:10 pm

robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:53 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:14 am
PQ12$ wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am

If you could offer advice to these couples just starting out together, what would you say? What has your experience been and what did you learn from it? We'd like to share some of your insights/wisdom with them, and encourage them to become lifelong students of finance (as we have become thanks to this site).
PQ12$,

Don't buy a house. That would be the key decision that swarms all other decision. Do this wrong. Nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Not sure what you mean by this? Certainly, don't overspend, but an appropriate house can be part of a stable, prosperous life.
robphoto,

1) A newly wedded couple should not buy a house.

2) The chance that a newly wedded couple know how to buy an appropriate house is worst than winning a lottery.

<< an appropriate house can be part of a stable, prosperous life.>>

3) How likely for this to happen? One in 10,000? Think about all the stuff that has to go right for this to be possible?

KlangFool

robphoto
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:42 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by robphoto » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:31 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:10 pm
robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:53 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:14 am
PQ12$ wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:49 am

If you could offer advice to these couples just starting out together, what would you say? What has your experience been and what did you learn from it? We'd like to share some of your insights/wisdom with them, and encourage them to become lifelong students of finance (as we have become thanks to this site).
PQ12$,

Don't buy a house. That would be the key decision that swarms all other decision. Do this wrong. Nothing else matters.

KlangFool
Not sure what you mean by this? Certainly, don't overspend, but an appropriate house can be part of a stable, prosperous life.
robphoto,

1) A newly wedded couple should not buy a house.

2) The chance that a newly wedded couple know how to buy an appropriate house is worst than winning a lottery.

<< an appropriate house can be part of a stable, prosperous life.>>

3) How likely for this to happen? One in 10,000? Think about all the stuff that has to go right for this to be possible?

KlangFool
I don't know why that seems so far-fetched to you. For us, we married at about age 30, we'd separately been living in apartments for 10 years, and wanted a house. We could get a fixer-upper in a decent neighborhood, closed on it when we got back from the honeymoon. Obviously if somebody overextends to buy their "dream house," they could get in trouble, but in our MCOL town, you can buy a modest house for less than a nice apartment rent. There is a big range of maturity in people getting married, but I don't think only a tiny minority could successfully buy a house.

KlangFool
Posts: 12958
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:52 pm

robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:31 pm

I don't know why that seems so far-fetched to you. For us, we married at about age 30, we'd separately been living in apartments for 10 years, and wanted a house. We could get a fixer-upper in a decent neighborhood, closed on it when we got back from the honeymoon. Obviously if somebody overextends to buy their "dream house," they could get in trouble, but in our MCOL town, you can buy a modest house for less than a nice apartment rent. There is a big range of maturity in people getting married, but I don't think only a tiny minority could successfully buy a house.
robphoto,

You have not considered all the things that could go wrong with buying a house while you are newly married.

KlangFool

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 20743
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:35 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:52 pm
robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:31 pm

I don't know why that seems so far-fetched to you. For us, we married at about age 30, we'd separately been living in apartments for 10 years, and wanted a house. We could get a fixer-upper in a decent neighborhood, closed on it when we got back from the honeymoon. Obviously if somebody overextends to buy their "dream house," they could get in trouble, but in our MCOL town, you can buy a modest house for less than a nice apartment rent. There is a big range of maturity in people getting married, but I don't think only a tiny minority could successfully buy a house.
robphoto,

You have not considered all the things that could go wrong with buying a house while you are newly married.

KlangFool
Enlighten us, (getting popcorn). There is plenty that can go wrong with a house purchase even when you've been married more than 5 years.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

KlangFool
Posts: 12958
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:35 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:39 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:35 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:52 pm
robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:31 pm

I don't know why that seems so far-fetched to you. For us, we married at about age 30, we'd separately been living in apartments for 10 years, and wanted a house. We could get a fixer-upper in a decent neighborhood, closed on it when we got back from the honeymoon. Obviously if somebody overextends to buy their "dream house," they could get in trouble, but in our MCOL town, you can buy a modest house for less than a nice apartment rent. There is a big range of maturity in people getting married, but I don't think only a tiny minority could successfully buy a house.
robphoto,

You have not considered all the things that could go wrong with buying a house while you are newly married.

KlangFool
Enlighten us, (getting popcorn). There is plenty that can go wrong with a house purchase even when you've been married more than 5 years.
Grt2bOutdoors,

<<There is plenty that can go wrong with a house purchase even when you've been married more than 5 years.>>

Correct.

<<when we got back from the honeymoon.>>

When a person is old enough, he/she knows when it is useless to enlighten someone.

KlangFool

robphoto
Posts: 105
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by robphoto » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:46 pm

As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us, not to teach it to the class; you seemed to be proclaiming a universal law that that would be impossible, or extremely low odds.

To get back to something that might be useful to the OP, when we were engaged, part of the weekend we had to do pre-marriage involved each person privately writing their thoughts on a given topic or question, and then discussing their responses with their fiance(e). I would think one could use this approach for financial questions too, about debt, priorities, sharing accounts, etc. Probably would be a real revelation for the engaged couples.

KlangFool
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by KlangFool » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:21 pm

robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:46 pm
As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us, not to teach it to the class; you seemed to be proclaiming a universal law that that would be impossible, or extremely low odds.

To get back to something that might be useful to the OP, when we were engaged, part of the weekend we had to do pre-marriage involved each person privately writing their thoughts on a given topic or question, and then discussing their responses with their fiance(e). I would think one could use this approach for financial questions too, about debt, priorities, sharing accounts, etc. Probably would be a real revelation for the engaged couples.
robphoto,

<<As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us,>>

How do you know that it worked?

A) How long have you been married?

B) Do you have kids yet?

C) How long have you stayed in this house?

If you would like to provide complete information, you may want to provide the complete context of your answer. Or, your answer is it worked because it is cheaper than renting an apartment of equal size.

KlangFool

User avatar
Wiggums
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Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by Wiggums » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:29 pm

You should tell the couples to join this forum and ask their specific questions on here.

We have joint accounts. Joint or separate accounts, the couple should have one view of the spending and investing strategy. Being on the same page and financially responsible to the pool of money is important. A major misalignment on finances will cause major issues in the marriage. When one person is ultra conservative with investing and the spouse is not, requires good communication and an agreement on the path forward.

Good luck to you...

robphoto
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:42 pm

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by robphoto » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:56 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:21 pm
robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:46 pm
As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us, not to teach it to the class; you seemed to be proclaiming a universal law that that would be impossible, or extremely low odds.

To get back to something that might be useful to the OP, when we were engaged, part of the weekend we had to do pre-marriage involved each person privately writing their thoughts on a given topic or question, and then discussing their responses with their fiance(e). I would think one could use this approach for financial questions too, about debt, priorities, sharing accounts, etc. Probably would be a real revelation for the engaged couples.
robphoto,

<<As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us,>>

How do you know that it worked?

A) How long have you been married?

B) Do you have kids yet?

C) How long have you stayed in this house?

If you would like to provide complete information, you may want to provide the complete context of your answer. Or, your answer is it worked because it is cheaper than renting an apartment of equal size.

KlangFool
a. married-- 33 years
b. 2 kids, grown and on their own
c. lived there 8 years, sold and bought a slightly bigger fixer-upper house on the water, where we've lived since

We're both handy do-it-yourselfers, and frugal, and were tired of renting; we could get a modest home in a nice neighborhood, and work together on fixing it up. As I said, I'm not telling the guy to teach this to his students, just that it's not always wrong-headed.

The critical element, more than what path the couple takes, is that they're of one mind on it.

smitcat
Posts: 3571
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Advice for young married couples: PLEASE HELP!

Post by smitcat » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:13 am

robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:56 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:21 pm
robphoto wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:46 pm
As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us, not to teach it to the class; you seemed to be proclaiming a universal law that that would be impossible, or extremely low odds.

To get back to something that might be useful to the OP, when we were engaged, part of the weekend we had to do pre-marriage involved each person privately writing their thoughts on a given topic or question, and then discussing their responses with their fiance(e). I would think one could use this approach for financial questions too, about debt, priorities, sharing accounts, etc. Probably would be a real revelation for the engaged couples.
robphoto,

<<As far as buying a house as newlyweds, I'm saying it worked for us,>>

How do you know that it worked?

A) How long have you been married?

B) Do you have kids yet?

C) How long have you stayed in this house?

If you would like to provide complete information, you may want to provide the complete context of your answer. Or, your answer is it worked because it is cheaper than renting an apartment of equal size.

KlangFool
a. married-- 33 years
b. 2 kids, grown and on their own
c. lived there 8 years, sold and bought a slightly bigger fixer-upper house on the water, where we've lived since

We're both handy do-it-yourselfers, and frugal, and were tired of renting; we could get a modest home in a nice neighborhood, and work together on fixing it up. As I said, I'm not telling the guy to teach this to his students, just that it's not always wrong-headed.

The critical element, more than what path the couple takes, is that they're of one mind on it.
Another story on home buying early...
In our case we bought the house when we were engaged but not yet married.
That was 'in excess' of 25 years ago.
It worked out really great , our daughter is out of grad school now but not sure why that is important.
We kept the home for about 10 years or so - then bought another home. Not sure why that is important either.

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