A.J. and I are doing pre-marital counseling with one of our couples right now and we just finished our week on finance. When you first get married there are so many things to consider and so many things you can potentially disagree on. There are separate bank accounts that may (or may not) need to be merged. There may be a home to buy, or two homes to merge. There's furniture and pets and vacations and paying off the wedding and student loans and credit card debt and it can all be too much for some couples to cope with at the beginning. Pre-marital counseling is super helpful for this, it gives you a guide to just help you get on the same page, but it is no replacement for a financial advisor.
Having someone who knows the ins and outs of the system who can guide you toward a budget and a good plan to keep you on track will be invaluable as you figure out this new adventure together. William's 15 years of experience is perfect for this. He doesn't talk over your head, he makes sure he has all the facts, then helps you find a plan that is good for you.
Sometimes it's hard to know what or who to ask tough questions. So, continuing the community series this week, I asked him a few questions to get the conversation started for some of our couples.
What type of financial pitfalls do newlywed couples come across when they're just starting out?
There are an abundance of pitfalls out there for newlywed couples when it comes to finances but I would say not discussing your individual financial histories would be at the top of the list. Knowing the financial history of someone can tell you a lot about the type of person they are. Differences in finances are the leading reason why married people get divorced so it is important to be on the same page early on in the marriage.
What are some steps they can take to make sure that doesn't happen?
Lay it all on the table early on. Open communication with your spouse about finances is extremely important. It is unlikely that you will have the same exact beliefs about your finances as your spouse. But that is normal. The important thing to remember here is that you must talk openly about the differences with each other and be ready to compromise. I’ve seen many happily married couples that had completely different views on how to handle their finances. Understanding and respecting your differences, along with being able to compromise is key.
What is it that a financial advisor can do to help them?
After you have laid it all on the table and you have a glimpse of everything you have, you look at your spouse and say “Ok, here’s everything. Now what?” Knowing what you have in terms of debt and assets is only the beginning stage. That is usually when the real questions start. What are our financial goals? Do we pay off this debt or that debt? How much do we need for an emergency fund? How do we establish a budget? What about retirement? What about kids?
As a financial advisor, I help you ask the questions that you haven’t thought of, and then create an action plan to get you started on the right track. Once you are on your way I work with my clients to help monitor their progress and adjust the plan as necessary.
What should a couple prepare before even considering purchasing their first home?
That’s a great question, and keep in mind that every couple has different backgrounds when it comes to finances. I would say however that it is important not to over extend yourself. When you apply for a mortgage they will come up with a number that is your max purchase price. That number however does not include certain details about your spending habits, or retirement wishes, or bills that you have that do not show up on your credit report. Before going out and buying the most expense house you can, make sure that you can comfortably afford the payment.
What makes you love what you do and come back to it week after week?
All of my clients are unique. They all have different histories, and different values that are important to them. They all have different goals with their lives and are all educated in some field that I am not. I am constantly learning just as much from them as they are from me. Every client has their own challenges and different obstacles to overcome. My job is a not a cookie cutter job and love that I get to solve some new problem every day.
Any other words of wisdom for newlyweds?
Yes! Start saving for retirement early! The more you can save early on the less you will have to save later. I know that it may not feel like it now but this is the time in your life when you will have the most flexibility with your finances. As you grow and mature you will find that in most cases your expenses will go up. Just ask anyone with kids!
If you have any questions about anything please contact William! He loves what he does and he loves helping people get on the right track!
Disclosures: WM Financial is not affiliated with Cynthia Viola Photography. Third party
posts or comments on this interview do not reflect the views of the firm and have not
been reviewed by the firm.
WM Financial is affiliated with Capital Investment Advisory Services, LLC
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