“As a wedding coordinator, I love to provide my couples with ALL the helpful advice before their wedding day. This week, I asked my friend Leanne Rahn, a financial advisor to share her best tips on the topic of fiances. Boy, did she deliver. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about finances + your marriage.”-Emily DeRitter
Finances! Wahoo! I know, I know – not the most exciting thing to talk about especially if you’re in the life season of being engaged. I can bet there are a billion other things that you can think of more exciting to talk about than finances. But the reality is, whether we like it or not, finances are a part of our marriages. A big part too. Yes, there is such a thing as financial intimacy and the presence (or lack of) can greatly affect your marriage. So, if you are reading this, I hope I can add a little more excitement into the word “finances” and you can confidently go into the new chapter of your life feeling more prepared with these four financial steps to do before marriage.
1. Understand your Money Mind AND your Fiance’s
What in the world is a Money Mind? Let me fill you in. Do you ever notice that you and your significant other don’t always agree on how to spend money? Maybe even how to not spend it? Perhaps you have realized that you have no clue why they think so differently in terms of how to make financial decisions? Well this is because we each have different Money Minds (a.k.a. how we are motivated to make a financial decision). Let me be the first to tell you that it is OKAY to think differently. In fact, you actually can complement each other (even when it feels like you two are on opposite ends of the spectrum).
The important thing is to not only understand how you think and feel toward money but also how your fiance does too. Understanding this about each other creates an open door. You two can still be in different rooms (have different perspectives) but opening the door separating you both allows each other to talk and walk into your own rooms. Who doesn’t love an open and honest environment? I can tell you right now, it is essential for successful marriages.So how do I figure out our Money Minds? When you’re ready to make this initial step, text, email, call, message me! Having expertise in working with engaged couples and newlyweds, I am constantly diving into this with couples. By having conversation, answering good questions, and completing my Money Mind program we can determine how you are motivated financially. There is a reason this is the first step on this list.
2. Sit Down & Write Out your Goals
I want you to notice three things in the title of this next step. First: sit down. This step takes thoughtful processing and intentionality. You can’t (and shouldn’t) complete this step while you and your brain are distractingly running around. Second: write out your goals. Of course this doesn’t mean your goals can’t change but doing this not only enhances the intentionality, it also is something you can look back on as you are powering away toward accomplishing them. Lastly: the word “goals” is not categorized. Yes, we are talking about finances in this blog but that doesn’t mean your goals must be having an etsy-qualifying budget, crushing debt, and so on. This can be any goal! Always dreamed of having a lake house? Sit down, write it down. Want to go to Europe for your first anniversary? Sit down, write it down. Would you love to have a garden like Joanna Gaines? (Okay, but who doesn’t?) Sit down, write it down. You get the picture.
Not only does this align you and your fiance’s thoughts and dreams but they are tangibly written and centralized. Intentionality falls into a lot of other pillars of marriage: spiritual intimacy, physical intimacy, mental intimacy, and emotional intimacy. I’m here to tell you that intentionality needs to be alive and well in all of these pillars but also the last pillar (can you guess?) – financial intimacy. Tackle this second step and not only will you feel more connected with your fiance but you will feel more connected with your inner self
3. Write Out your Financial Expectations for One Another
Do you see a theme of writing things down and being intentional? If not, you will by the end of this – I promise. Marriage would be a piece of cake if we were all mind readers. Can you imagine? The hard truth is we are not. We each have different expectations of what the other person should or should not do. Whether that’s financially or in any other part of the relationship. I can bet that we have all experienced a time when we expected one thing but didn’t communicate that with the other person. As life goes, they did the opposite of our expectations and it more than likely ended in an argument. Well here is your chance to intentionally communicate your financial expectations for one another.
When you get married, will you be combining your finances or keeping them separate? Do you want to give monthly to church or a charity? If so, how much? What if you have a financially needing family member? Will you do the budget together? Every couple will have a different set of questions but the important thing is to be open and honest. It is much easier to be open and honest before the situation occurs when your emotions are fully involved.
When you discuss this together, this shouldn’t be a sore topic. Try to be vulnerable and understanding of the other’s perspective. When you can go into this conversation with a soft heart and open mind, creating fair financial expectations for your marriage should resonate sweet and humble openness.
4. Develop Habitual Financial Communion
The non-religious definitions of communion, according to dictionary.com, are:
Do you see where I am going with this? Once you have nailed all of the three steps above, you need to maintain and upkeep them. Goals change. Expectations change. That is a part of life and marriage as we grow in different ways. This is why this is the last step. To preserve strong financial intimacy, consistent check-ins are crucial. Maybe that means you mark off on your calendar an hour every 6 months or every year to go back and reevaluate your goals and expectations. The key is to have a plan and execute the plan. This can assure that you both remain on the same page and you are headed in the right direction to accomplish your goals.
Again, honesty of intimate emotions and thoughts need to be present here. Strengthen your financial intimacy. “X” out the time on a calendar or set a reminder on your phone. Take it seriously just as you would a date night to strengthen your physical and emotional intimacy. This is a “date night” designed to strengthen your financial intimacy. We have learned that financial intimacy stands among the other marriage pillars so you need to give it the attention it deserves.
At some point in your life, you will probably have a Financial Advisor that may be added into this step. Don’t forget to bring the intimate emotions and thoughts to the meeting. Just because a third person is there does not mean you need to hold back on what you want in life and your expectations. Take ownership of the life we have been given!
Alright, maybe I didn’t add that much excitement into the word “finances”. If anything, I hope that the word feels more comfortable and warm when put with the word “marriage”. Marriage is a beautiful thing we get to experience and intentionality is so important. My husband and I like to use “intentionality” as our marriage’s theme word: constantly reminding ourselves that our relationship is a beautiful gift and we need to tend to it with purpose to see the fruits be produced. Maybe you come up with your own theme word in your marriage or borrow mine. Either way, take these steps with you into the new chapter of your life and maybe next time someone says “finances”, you can respond with a “wahoo!” just for me.
About Guest Blogger: Leanne Rahn
Leanne Rahn is a goal-based Fiduciary, Independent Financial Advisor with Fiduciary Financial Advisors. She has no affiliations with any brokerage firms, sells no products, and accepts no commissions.
Leanne specializes in newlyweds/engaged couples, female business owners, and families with special needs children. The two principles she stands on are providing low-oriented fees and always putting her client’s best interest first.
Get in touch with Leanne:
Phone (269) 720-4544
Photography Credit: Anna VanderBerg Photography
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