May 30, 2024
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How Engaged Couples Can Plan Their Financial Futures

Mazel tov! They’re engaged! Simchas give people a new horizon to explore and many new things to learn. Newly engaged couples discuss where to live, what shuls they want to try out and even what China patterns to register for. There is another serious discussion that needs to happen, but according to financial planner Cindy Day of BLS Financial, it rarely occurs. “People talk about many things, but rarely discuss how they handle money,” explained Day.

Howard Bienenfeld, the managing partner of BLS Financial, added that “people avoid the money issue until they are stuck with tough decisions. Once this happens, the discussion becomes emotional rather than rational.” Bienenfeld explained that a financial coach helps open the door to look at the variables and help people make informed decisions reflective of their goals and habits.

Day offered suggestions for couples to open up this important topic. “Talking about finances early on in the relationship can potentially minimize the tension money causes later on in life,” she said. Here are several ideas that influence how people think about finances:

  1. How someone was raised impacts their feelings about money. Couples should discuss the type of house they grew up in, and what their parents told them about money and money management.
  2. What types of traditions people have—for families, entertaining, educational priorities and anything else that influences spending.
  3. Create a plan. Couples need to discuss how they should plan for large expenses. They also need to figure out how they will manage joint money. Day suggested that when couples have very different spending philosophies, sometimes a joint account where both spouses contribute money toward specific household expenses, while they each maintain their own discretionary spending account, helps keep money from becoming a source of arguments.

Day explained that people spend a lot of time planning all aspects of their lives but very little time on financial planning. “Make deliberate plans for financial life,” she advised. “Spend as much effort planning financially as you do planning a large vacation.”

Bienenfeld also offered advice to people who are concerned that they cannot find any money to save, and wonder if saving will eventually be “worth it.” Bienenfeld explained that “it’s not how much you put away. It’s the habit of putting something away and creating appropriate habits.”

As new couples start figuring out the next step in their lives together, these important tips will help them start a path toward financial stability.

By Jenny Gans

 

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