Planning to tie the knot real soon?
Have you recently been engaged?
Congrats to you and the lucky fiancee!
But of course, you probably know getting married can become pretty tough, and it’s kind of a permanent decision.
And it’s gonna cost you a lot. Not just during the wedding day, but all throughout your married life.
Why is this so?
Well, let’s find out.
Between tasting cake and trying on dresses, being financially responsible is probably the last thing on your mind.
But, before walking down the aisle, it’s essential you and your fiancé get on the same page.
Specifically, here are eight financial steps to take after getting engaged to help get you there.
1. Talk about your financial plan as a couple.
Hopefully, since you’ve committed to spending your life together, you’ve already talked money with your soon-to-be-lifetime-partner.
But if you haven’t, better late than never.
We call this step, DTM. Or DEFINE THE MONEY.
“Schedule a time to talk so that your partner doesn’t feel blindsided and so that you can each do a little homework beforehand if need be,” suggests love and money expert Farnoosh Torabi.
Share important numbers like your income, debt and approximate credit scores.
Discuss how you’ll merge your finances once you’re married, and what (if anything) else will change money-wise.
One legal-financial remedies most couples in the Western world consider is the prenuptial agreement which basically lays down the rules of financial separation.
Carefully consider your options to avoid headaches in the future.
2. Carefully check your individual credit scores.
After defining the money (DTM) and laying down the basic framework of your financial plan, you need to carefully check your credit standing individually.
Since this can be a sobering experience, we recommend having a few drinks beforehand. Or not?
If you discover one (or both) of your credit scores is less than ideal, then it’s time to create an action plan.
If you are looking to get yourselves a home in the future, a good credit score is needed if you want to get a housing loan from your bank.
If you wish to set up a business in the future, a business loan would require a good credit standing as well.
If you have bigger plans as a couple in the future, especially those involving money, getting your credit standing in order is a must.
There are many strategies in managing your finances more efficiently, you just have to find the strategies that will work for you best.
3. Open a Joint Savings Account
If you don’t already live together, you will soon. So it’s probably time to open a joint bank account.
Not only will this make it easier to pay your shared bills, but you can also use it to save up for your wedding expenses.
By keeping your wedding savings in a separate, online-only account, you’ll be less likely to touch it. And by keeping it in an interest-earning account, it’ll grow even faster than you anticipated.
You will also need to keep your own individual savings account. As in the case of celebrity Filipino couple Richard Poon and Maricar Reyes, both of them still work and keep individual savings. But they have a joint account which they touch when making big financial decisions as a coupe.
4. Get additional income streams.
You know what’s super romantic? Not going into debt — or dipping into savings — to pay for your wedding.
So, getting more than one income stream (most probably your regular day job) is important. You can try passive means of earning money, or setting up business ventures or investments.
You can try the stock market. You can try real estate. You can sell your skills on the sidelines. It’s entirely up to you.
The idea is simple, you don’t want simply just one source of income.
5. Plan Your (Frugal) Dream Wedding
Weddings can be insanely expensive (exhibits A and B), but they don’t have to be.
For starters, the stat about weddings costing P 1, 500,000 is inflated; you and I both know it’s possible to host a lovely event for much less than that.
6. Start Making Snowflakes
If you’ve gotten this far, you’re serious about starting your marriage on the right financial foot. And paying back debt is probably one of your goals.
You may have heard of Dave Ramsey’s snowball method — but what about the snowflake method?
With this strategy, instead of making one lump payment each month, you make several smaller payments.
“Basically, any time you find yourself with extra cash, you should use it to make a payment on your credit card,” explains Mike Peterson at DebtGuru.
Why does this work?
“If you wait and save up to make a large, traditional credit card payment, that extra money might just slip through your fingers,” he continues.
But these micropayments (whether they’re P100 or P100,000) slowly chip away at your balance.
“If you do that again the next week, and the next, all of those small payments start to stack up,” he says.
7. Discuss Your Future Goals
To build your ideal future together, you have to figure out what it looks like first.
Although you’ve probably already covered most of the biggies, it won’t hurt to do a deeper dive on the following topics:
If you plan to have kids, how will you raise them? Will you give them an allowance? Will you help them pay for college?
Raising kids who are money-smart — but not spoiled — can be challenging, but is well worth the effort.
With your partner, compare notes about what your parents did right (or wrong) and decide what your strategy will be.
When would you like to retire? Where? How aggressively do you want to save for it?
If you start investing when you’re young, you won’t be like the many Americans who can’t afford to stop working.
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page, then plan for the future accordingly.
What are your priorities? Would you rather have a nice car, or frequent vacations? Is a big house important to you?
Money can cause a lot of tension in relationships — often due to differing views on how to spend it. Clarify your priorities before they become a problem.
8. Book a Bodacious Honeymoon
Once all the madness is over, it’s time to get away. (Personally, I feel like this is one of the most exciting parts about getting married!)
Your honeymoon might seem like a long time away, but the earlier you start the booking process, the cheaper it will be.
Whether you want an urban adventure or a beachside escape, here are a few ways to make it more affordable:
Use Points and Miles
If you start early, you might even be able to fund your honeymoon entirely on miles and points.
One of the easiest ways to rack up points and miles is by just using credit cards responsibly. There are credit cards designed specifically for this purpose.
Last time we checked, BPI has this kinds of credit cards.
Travel to a Cheap Destinations
Not only would we recommend seeking alternative accommodation when you travel (Airbnb can save you lots!), I’d also suggest seeking an alternative destination.
Instead of Italy, visit Croatia; instead of Hawaii, head to Mexico. No matter what you want, there’s probably an alternate destination to serve your needs for half the price.
For some inspiration, check out this list of six destinations where dinner for two is less than $20.
Book Your Flights Carefully
A lot of factors determine how much you’ll pay for your plane tickets. Your best tool in the fight against sky-high ticket prices? Knowledge.
To get the best deal, here’s how far ahead you should book, when to buy and when to fly.
By following these eight steps before you say “I do,” you’ll give your new marriage the solid financial foundation it needs — hopefully allowing your money to last as long as your love does.
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