Are you getting ready to tie the knot? Marriage is a huge lifestyle change that calls for all sorts of adjustments.
Not only do men and women preparing for a wedding need to deal with invitations, arrangements, trip planning, and dozens of other details, but there's also the question of financial stability to attend to.
Anyone about to join their lives together should take the time to perform a complete review of their money situation concerning credit, income, budgeting, and more.
What are the essential steps in the process?
For starters, couples should examine all the details related to buying their first home. That means making a timetable and a financial plan for acquiring a house.
Related: Manifesting money
Other pieces of the puzzle include reorganizing school loans, improving credit scores, ditching high-interest debt, setting up retirement accounts, saving money for six months or more before the big day, and developing a wedding-focused budget.
Here's how to get started.
Make a Home Buying Plan and Timetable
Buying the first house can be a complex and stressful experience, even for the most battle-hardened financial pros. For new couples, the challenge seems overwhelming.
The solution is to take small steps, break the process into pieces, and start the process as soon as possible.
There are two components to the strategy.
First, make a general plan that includes items like which real estate agency you want to work with, where you want to shop for property, the expected price range you can live with, how much of a down payment you wish to make, what kind of mortgage you are interested in, and more.
Then, the plan's second stage should include a specific timetable of significant events. Don't worry about getting all the dates exactly right. The aim is to list detailed steps of the process and target completion dates for each.
Some include list items like "find a real estate agent by January 10, 2023," or "choose a neighborhood or zip code for new homes by December 16, 2022." In other words, you want to set out the steps as action items on a to-do calendar and arrange them in a logical order.
Refinance Education Debt
One of the best stealth tactics for improving your financial situation is a student loan refinancing to free up some monthly cash.
In fact, those who refinance their education debt into a brand-new loan obligation can instantly shave a significant amount off their recurring expenses. This move can translate into peace of mind for women and men who are about to marry.
The beauty of a school loan refinance is not only are the effects immediate, but the entire application process is an "online affair" and a quick one at that. Those who owe on old student loans gain the advantage of having access to more favorable rates, terms, and repayment periods.
When you choose to refinance college debt in anticipation of marriage, it's a win-win situation for both members.
Pay Off High-Interest Credit Cards
There are many ways to get out of debt, but paying off credit cards should be a top priority. High-interest credit cards are your chief enemy as the wedding day approaches.
Have a conversation with each other about amounts, cards, and strategies for paying them off asap. In fact, it's almost impossible to plan to purchase a home or take on any other financial responsibilities until the high-interest debt is dealt with in a direct and decisive manner.
Consider the tiered approach that has worked well for so many who are preparing to wed. Begin by paying minimums on the higher balance cards and focusing on the lowest balance one first by devoting all your excess cash to paying it off completely.
Then, move on to the next lowest obligation and pay it off.
Check Credit Scores
It's difficult to deal with finances unless you know where you stand. That means both of you should get reports from all three of the major credit bureaus. Finding out your respective scores is just step one.
Sometimes, the full written reports include lots of indecipherable legal jargon that nonetheless contains vital information. Hire a credit counselor or ask someone at your local bank to help you translate the report.
There's no better way to understand what the scores mean and how they came to be. Finally, set out to correct any errors by contacting the bureaus in writing and explaining any mistakes you have uncovered.
Save for at Least 6 Months
Devote at least six months to saving as much money as possible before the big day. Understandably, this can be a daunting task given all the miscellaneous expenses soon-to-be-married couples face.
Make a point to set aside 10% of all income, gifts, tax refunds, and other funds as they come in. Include the savings amount in your monthly budget and treat it as a recurring expense.
For many adults on the verge of a major life change, learning to save in a disciplined way can be the cornerstone of a sound financial lifestyle.
Make a Wedding Budget
Wedding budgets are a must for adults who want the event to be successful. Sit down with your future spouse and compose a list of all items you'll be spending on.
Include anything that is your responsibility. That means ignoring gifted things like trips and random expenses others have agreed to pay for.
Still, be ready to deal with a significant obligation, much of which must be paid for before the event takes place.
Set Up IRAs
Retirement seems like something that's plenty of years away for young couples. However, now is the absolute best time to begin making plans.
Don't worry about devoting a significant sum to the effort. Instead, work with your favorite banker or broker to set up individual retirement accounts for each of you.
Most institutions have a minimum starting balance and a bit of paperwork for you to fill out. Make the deposit, fill out the forms, and regularly contribute to the accounts as soon as possible.
Sylvia Silverstone is a passionate writer who loves to share her knowledge and expertise on a wide range of topics, including beauty, life hacks, entertainment, health, news, and money. With a keen eye for detail and a talent for storytelling, Sylvia's engaging writing style keeps readers coming back for more.