Personal Finance Advice for Newlyweds (us)

Andrea and Paul,

Congratulations on your marriage! While it seems like you two love birds have been together forever, you ain’t seen nothing yet. I know you are excited about starting your lives together, as you should be, but I want to give you some advice for being young newlyweds.

Don’t worry, this will be PG.

One of the life lessons I have experienced myself was related to my personal financial decisions. While some life lessons are valuable, making a mistake when it comes to how you manage your money isn’t something that really teaches you a whole lot. It creates more stress in life, and in your marriage. Study up and know how to be financially savvy now and you will benefit from years to come. Apply the learning and grow a stronger foundation everyday.

So in honor of this special day, here is some personal finance advice for you young newlyweds:

{1} Don’t buy a home. I know you are excited about establishing roots and want to own your own home. I would encourage you to NOT do this. Rent for a while so you can save up some to purchase a home you will really love. Plus, who knows what will happen with your jobs. You may not stay in the little town of Frankfort your whole life. Crazy to say, I know.

{2} Say yes to used. Yes, Andrea, your mom and dad spoiled your completely rotten and you got a brand new car when you graduated. Drive that thing until it implodes and then drive it even longer. As long as it’s paid for, who cares what others think if you are driving a jacked up car.  Don’t tie up your money in a car payment at this point in your life. You need a car for sure, just not a brand new out of the factory car. Used cars work just as good.

{3} Live on one income. You are both young and make a great living. You never know when one of you could either experience a job loss. Or, what if Andrea wants to stay home with your future children? Yeah, that sounded crazy too and so out of character for her to be a stay at home mom. I’m sure that one will never happen and that’s IF you have kids. But in the event that one of those things happen, you can be financially prepared and limit the stress.

{4} Create a budget. Knowing that you will have very few bills, it would be a wise act to create a budget. I know how you both like goals, so consider it a challenge to stick to your budget each month. Go through and evaluate your finances to remove the unnecessary items sooner rather than later.

{5} Say NO to credit cards. Yes you have both been very responsible when it comes to credit card debt but it can get out of hand very quick. If you do insist on having a credit card, choose just one and pay it off each month so you stay out of debt! Having a long-standing history of good credit can help you down the road to get lower interest rates on larger purchases. That credit score will follow you for the rest of your life.

{6} So NO to balance transfers or loan consolidations. They may seem like a quick way to help you feel a “win” in any attempt to pay off debt, but they really don’t change behaviors. The lines of credit that were paid off will likely just have balances again. See #3-5 for to reinforce this piece of advice.

{7} Save more. Part of your budget could be for savings too. But, the point here is to save at least 10% off your take-home pay. You will want an emergency fund for life’s mishaps (in case your heater goes out on New Year’s Eve perhaps??) or, again, in the event one of you experience a job loss.

{8} Learn to cook. While your mother is awesome in many ways, she didn’t teach Andrea how to do one of life’s most necessary things- cook. Take a cooking class somewhere. You don’t have any kids to worry about right now so learn how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals before you start a family. This will be a huge time and money-saving benefit down the road.

{9} Finish school. I know you both are working towards this and you just had to go get married before you finished. But, while credit card debt isn’t smart, student loans are actually a good thing (plus Andrea can get a lot of hers paid for through her job). The degrees you earn have the potential to double or even quadruple your respective incomes. That doesn’t seem fathomable now but just wait when it happens in the future.

{10} Stop and smell the roses. It’s money we’re talking about and to earn money you need to work. But, don’t focus so much on climbing the corporate ladder or seeking out opportunities that you stop and appreciate what you have. Don’t let life pass you by and live to regret being in the moment.

{11} Take time for one another. This may not seem like personal finance advice but it is. Divorces cost a lot of money! Plus, you two obviously love each other and want to be together. Take time to be with one another. Whatever you do, do NOT wait until you have a child (and they can talk) before you have a night alone. Plus, you can have inexpensive date nights and save a little more. See #7

{12} Say NO to kids. Not to having them (or practicing) but saying NO to them. Nowadays kids have the “everyone gets a trophy mentality” and the parents AND grandparents have done them a real disservice in life. Again, IF you have kids, they need to earn their own money and respect the value of a dollar AND their possessions. They also need to be reminded daily about how life is unfair and they need to give 110% to get what they really want in life. Saying no to them is preparing them for the real world.

{13} Invest. Back to #4 and #7, make sure you set aside money to invest. When Andrea started at Mead, her goal was to retire when she was 45. Since she started working there at 18 she could have a LOT of money to actually achieve this goal. Make investing a priority, even if it’s just $25 a month. And no matter what you do, NEVER CASH OUT YOUR 401K!! I don’t care what the circumstances are, this is never a smart idea. Trust me on this one.

{14} Don’t shortchange God. This is the most important one. Maybe one day you will see that if you skip on giving God what He commands, He will get it in some way with a financial situation that needs your money. Honor God with your finances, follow Him as your Savior and your family will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

While you may ignore some of this advice, I am confident that the path you end up taking will be what God planned for you. You will learn a lot about your personal finances – and about one another along the way. Remember you have each other to learn on in times of trial, those trials may even be in your own marriage. You can get through anything. Always.

Love,

 

What finance advice would you write to your newlywed self?
Leave a comment here in the post. 

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on June 13, 2012

8 Comments

  • Lee - June 13, 2012 @ 5:31 pm
    1

    That is very good advice. Now as a mother myself I really wish my parents would have given me any kind of advice when I was younger. Unfortunately, for whatever reason my parents did not dish out any advice about anything to do with being an adult (and I do mean nothing). I am now close to 40, single and finally going to school and raising a child 100% on my own (not my choice). Could I have used some good advice when I was younger? You bet. I have had to learn everything the hard way and by myself. I have definitely made some mistakes because I was completely clueless. I have learned so much in the last 6 years and if I had only known some of it earlier things would be so much easier now.

    I know to not make the same mistakes that my parents did with raising me and will also make sure to give my child loads of helpful advice about life (I already do) so hopefully, things will be a lot easier for him. Yeah, you can learn from your mistakes but it is best to not make them to begin with.

    Thanks for your post. I will be tucking it away for future reference.

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - June 15, 2012 @ 2:03 pm
      1.1

      Lee, I always think about how much more we could have saved had we been equipped with much of this information as we were first married. But, I am thankful I learned a lot of it in the way that we did nonetheless because we won’t repeat any of those mistakes. Our boys are definitely learning from our mistakes and realize that having the newest {insert the blank} isn’t necessary. And, sometimes the unpopular brands work just as good if not better!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  • Andrea @ The Greenbacks Gal - June 14, 2012 @ 7:25 am
    2

    DARLING family pix and great advice.

  • Stacie - June 14, 2012 @ 10:12 am
    3

    Aww!! You guys are adorable! This is excellent advice. I have so much I would tell my newlywed self, too!

  • Amy @ Frugal Mama - June 15, 2012 @ 9:34 pm
    4

    Wow, Andrea, what a powerhouse list! I like that some of them are hard — don’t buy a house — and some are fun — stop and smell the roses. So many great ways to start out married life, like living on one income, not living high on the hog (it’s always hard to cut down, but easy to ramp up), and take time for each other.

  • Pat - July 06, 2012 @ 5:59 pm
    5

    My advice is about money. Every woman should have a checking account of her own. She should deposit her check and pay her share of the bills. But other than that, she should not have to account for her money. A woman with money is an empowered woman, and an empowered woman is a happy woman.

    She: Learn to cook. Sure you will have failures.
    He: Eat what’s cooked, and don’t say a word.

    Don’t eat out just because no one wants to cook. You are both grown, Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You’ll be fine. Eat out when it’s an occasion!!

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