You may or may not be a Dave Ramsey fan; however, we named our dog Ramsey (meant as an honor, not an insult – we love our dog!), so it’s pretty clear that we appreciate his lessons on finances. In truth, they have given us great financial direction!
Throughout his years of experience helping people with their money, and as well as his and his team’s research, he has discovered money problems to be the number one reason people get divorced. Divorce, at its core, is usually the result of selfishness on the part of one or both marriage partners. How you handle money does shine a light on your heart and character.
My parents were good with money, so I thought I had a good understanding of how to manage it when I got married; but, after marriage, I realized there was still a lot I needed to know. The list below is not exhaustive, but I believe these are some gold nuggets if you’ll apply these money tips/principles to your future marriage!
- Tithing – The word tithe literally means tenth– and in usage, means giving a tenth of your increase/income back to God. If tithing to your local church is not at the top of your budget, I assure you it will not happen. Your money will find other places to go if you don’t direct it as soon as you get it.Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (ESV)There are countless stories of how people were richly blessed after they started giving ten percent of their earnings to the Lord. God does say He will bless us for tithing, but the primary reasons for tithing are to be obedient, to show dependence upon Him, and to have an opportunity to cheerfully give – for God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)(Note: This is not the same as offerings. Offerings are what are given above the tithe – e.g., whatever is given willingly after the tithe has been given).
- Combine your Finances AFTER you get married – Keeping separate accounts is a way of keeping your lives separated. It may not seem like a big deal, but it keeps you from having to communicate about money, and it makes divorce much more convenient.Make plans to merge your finances afteryou get married. If you hesitate to merge your finances because your future spouse is irresponsible with money, you should seriously consider breaking off the engagement or postponing your marriage plans until he or she matures in this area.Having separate accounts won’t save you from the consequences that will come from having a spouse that cannot handle money well.
- Prepare a Monthly Budget– In the months and weeks prior to getting married, it is important to sit down together and create a working budget for after you are married. Though you should not combine your money until after you are married, it is important to know how much you will be making and spending, saving, and investing after marriage.This budget is not just a nice idea; it should be something you both agree to follow. If one of you makes a change, the other needs to be aware and in agreement before that change is made.Hiding purchases from each other is a type of betrayal once you both have agreed to follow your budget. Remember that both people should be involved in the budgeting process and both should know how much money your family has and where it’s going. And make sure to talk about money often.
- Force Yourself to Care – Some people are naturally interested in money and how it works and others are not. You may not be the one in your marriage that enjoys the numbers, checks, and balances of the household budget, but it is important that you care.Give feedback. Be involved. Don’t put the task of the entire budget for your family on your future spouse’s shoulders. Even for an emotionally strong person, it is too much weight to carry alone.You don’t ever want to get into a situation where one spouse is controlling the other through the purse strings or where one spouse is spending money and not knowing there is enough because he or she is willfully ignorant of what is happening within the family.
- Only Pay Cash for Cars – This may be a hard one to swallow if you have always made monthly payments on cars. So much income is lost to interest and payments when you finance a car and cars go down in value rapidly.Instead of making payments after getting a vehicle, pay yourself a monthly payment. Put the money in an account and when you have enough, go pay cash for a vehicle. It requires patience, but it saves you a lot of money and it lights a fire under you to earn the money more quickly!Dave Ramsey has a great video on this topic called: Drive Free, Retire Rich. Check it out!
The remaining five tips can now be found in our next post: Gold Nuggets: 10 Tips for Managing Money in your Future Marriage, Part II!
Have you and your boyfriend/girlfriend or fiancé/fiancée discussed finances yet?