5 Common financial mistakes to avoid as newlyweds.

Couple writing down their budgeting plan

Getting married is one of the most exciting and significant milestones in life. You’ve planned the perfect wedding, and now you want to plan the perfect future together. Still, having spent your pre-marriage days in an individual mindset, you may find yourself neglecting some key practices when you and your spouse consolidate into one financial entity.

While not everything will go according to plan, there are steps you can take to ensure that you’re on the right path—as well as on the same page. To help start off on the right foot, it’s good to be aware of what not to do. Here are five common financial mistakes made by newlyweds:

1. Avoiding the money talk.

As a couple, it’s important to have open and honest conversations about your finances. This includes sharing your financial goals, spending habits, and debts. Discuss everything, from your immediate budget and expenses to your retirement strategy. Be proactive and organize your current finances, while setting a foundation for your future. This involves larger discussions surrounding family members. Is there a parent in assisted living? Where does Mom keep her will? Does Dad have a power of attorney? Once you are both on the same page, you can have conversations with the rest of the family as a team.

Only by being honest and forthright about your finances can you avoid misunderstandings and work toward common goals.

2. Not budgeting with your spouse.

Embracing your new life as a two-person unit can seem difficult at first, but not doing so is one of the biggest budgeting mistakes to avoid. If you've been comfortable controlling your finances as an individual, you need to shift gears and start thinking of you and your spouse as financial partners.

Consider opening a shared bank account exclusively for your combined daily spending to help meet your budgeting goals. Communicate openly to see if there are areas where one of you can manage a responsibility for both. This approach will save time, improve your budgeting, and help maximize your earnings. Your goal is to work together to save more—and spend together to pay less.

This is especially true for long-term plans. Do you want to buy a house? Do you plan to have children? How do you plan to pay for their education? By discussing big decisions early on, you can start budgeting for large expenses that will require years of saving.

Don’t forget, emergencies can happen at any time and can cause financial stress in marriage, not to mention debt. That’s why it’s also important to budget for an emergency savings fund that can cover at least three to six months of living expenses.

3. Different approaches to purchases and investments.

You may think it's a great idea to finance a second car, while your spouse may think that real estate is a better purchase. Try to meet in the middle and agree on purchases that will benefit your future together. Look beyond physical purchases to investments (like mutual funds) and financial products that may offer the opportunity for long-term growth and value.

Before deciding on a financial strategy, discuss the possible cost, fees, opportunities, and risks. No matter how things play out in the long term, it's crucial to stand together and make sure you have an investment strategy that makes sense to both of you.

4. Not having a tax plan and not asking for help.

Now that you’re married, you have the option of filing your taxes jointly or separately. Most couples choose to take advantage of the tax credits and deductions that come with filing jointly. However, there may be individual circumstances in which filing separately could be more advantageous for you. Not finding out which option benefits them the most is one of the biggest tax mistakes newlyweds make.

If you need help deciding on the best course of action, reach out to a financial professional or tax accountant.*  Marriage is a partnership, but you don’t have to be experts. Reaching out for help can ensure that the path you set for yourself is one that leads to success.

5. Paying for services separately when you could be paying together.

Now that you're a financial duo, working together to consolidate your combined overhead could give you a great opportunity to save money. You only need one Netflix account for both of you, and it's often cheaper to switch to a family phone plan with a shared provider. Make a list with your spouse of all your combined monthly costs and see where you can cut some excess spending.

This can also be the case when it comes to life insurance. Since married couple insurance, or joint life insurance, costs less than two individual policies, it may be financially beneficial to consider a joint policy.

Managing finances as a newlywed couple can be confusing at times, but by avoiding these common financial mistakes, you can build a strong foundation for your future without having to deal with financial stress in your marriage.

If you want some help understanding how to make today’s money set the course for tomorrow, speak to a financial professional about setting the right goals and working toward them.


Want to learn more about financial solutions for the future?

A NYLIFE Securities Registered Representative can help determine what’s right for you.

*Neither New York Life Insurance Company, nor its agents, provides tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, or accounting professional before making any decisions.