The Money Marriage Blueprint
Below are the steps you need to take, in this order, to use your finances to strengthen your marriage. As part of our comprehensive financial planning service – designed exclusively for engaged and newlywed couples – I will guide you through the first four steps of the framework during our first three meetings. To learn more, schedule a FREE breakthrough session!
First, we build the financial “foundation” of your marriage, which involves a few things: getting clear on your vision for what you want your life to look like, setting goals to help you get there, and setting up your bank/investment account structure to give the “support” for the house you’re building. We want you to create a strong vision statement that clearly articulates where you want your lives to take you together along with a series of financial and non-financial goals in alignment with the vision.
That last piece is critical: this step involves both financial *and* non-financial aspects of your life. Money is just the tool we use to help you realize your vision. Your vision statement should include financial components, but also discuss things like your desires around having children and the role religion will play in your family.
From there, the four “walls” are key financial things that all couples should find agreement on to better their marriage. The four walls are:
- Debt- your attitudes around paying off and staying out of debt. The biggest money fights in marriages occur when spouses have different positions on this issue, so it’s important to have a plan in place to get on the same page!
- Budgeting- Most people don’t like to budget, but in a marriage, it’s a critical step in managing your money well together.
- Career decisions- Most couples have made their big career decisions prior to getting engaged. But going forward, it’s important to consider the effects your choices at work will have on your family. Agreeing on how to approach these decisions in advance can make it much easier to make big career decisions when the time comes
- Location– The last “wall” is a little broader. It’s important for you and your spouse to discuss and agree upon the type of environment you want to live in, where to settle down, and (when the time comes) how to approach buying a home.
The decisions you make about the “four walls” should be based upon the vision statement you created in the Foundation Phase. A couple must learn how to combine two different people’s ways of managing money in a healthy manner for their marriage to thrive financially.
A roof’s purpose is to provide financial protection. This step involves establishing an emergency fund, implementing appropriate levels of insurance coverage, and completing the first iteration of your estate plan. These items are critical to protect your money and your family against negative future events.
These are often the smaller financial decisions that you should adapt to the overall structure of your “house”, such as buying a new car, saving for future child’s college, and travel. In the same way that you wouldn’t buy a couch for your home without considering the size, layout, and color scheme of your living room, you shouldn’t make decisions about these types of financial issues before your build your foundation and put up the four walls. It is very important that we analyze your joint vision financially and make sure that these smaller decisions stay aligned with it.
Just like with a real “house,” over time you will need to renovate or expand your “financial house.” As your family grows, you might want to amend your “financial house” by “adding a garage,” “building a pool,” and so on. That is totally normal!
As such, it’s important to regularly do “maintenance” on your family’s financial vision to keep your house up to date and adapt it as things in your life change. This means that we will be having about three to four meetings per year to review your financial progress, address any issues, and make corrections when needed. We encourage couples to live their best lives and feel comfortable with their finances together.