If a marriage is, from the start, suffering from the debt of the big day, is it not fair to avoid as many other debts as possible? With debt a major contributor to arguments and even divorce, there has never been a more important start to a relationship than to lay down rules of fiscal discipline from day one – including saving for the future.
Opening a joint savings account that both partners contribute a small percentage of income to can provide future financial stability when any marriage encounters difficulties along life’s path, as any relationship will. Having money in the bank results in less stress when the bills come in, and having savings to dig into at important points – anniversaries, buying a new family home, new baby or family vacations – eases the strain both partners are under.
There is also the likelihood that one or even both partner will bring some form of debt to the marriage; student debt being the most common. Debt repayment should always be the first goal of a new couple, because when debt is repaid then savings can properly begin, and the earlier saving begins the more money can be saved and can be available when it’s needed.
Marriage is a promise to stick together for better or for worse, and the danger of an accident afflicting one partner with an expensive hospital stay or treatment is always present. Both partners can lessen the effect of such a traumatic event by having savings; it will still be traumatic but the background worry of how the medical bills are going to be paid will be much less, if present at all, with a healthy savings balance.
Children may also be the intention, and babies don’t come cheap. Cots, baby monitors, diapers and later toys, school costs, summer camps and sports all add up. Although it’s also a very good idea to help the child start saving himself or herself – higher interest is often offered to child saving accounts until the child reaches the age of maturity – there are still costs that will need to be met by the parents, and having something set aside that doesn’t immediately put a strain on the ongoing financial situation to use is very wise.
Then there is retirement. One or other, or even both partners may have jobs or careers that have benefits that affect the entire family, but that is no longer a given with the rise in contract work that has no benefits to the worker. Seemingly invulnerable pension plans have vanished overnight when fraud or stock exchange gambling was involved. Savings accounts should not replace pension plans, but they are a good supplement.
Having a joint savings account also says that you trust your partner – there are so many ways for distrust to sneak into a relationship that any positive show of trust has got to be worth a great deal, above and beyond its financial worth. Trust and communication are the two most important aspects of any relationship. If both partners can trust that the other is saving responsibly and that the savings are available to either partner in the event of a crisis, the situation can be very reassuring.
Finally at the end of a long and fruitful marriage, death will part the couple eventually. The surviving partner will have to readjust to life alone, and savings make the transitional period easier. This is another reason why at every part of a marriage, savings can be the bedrock upon which the most stable and loving of relationships can thrive.
The road through life is rocky enough as it is. Many of us find partners to love and cherish and settle down with who help ease the bumps. Having financial security because of saving from the first days of the relationship makes easing those bumps still easier. It removes the stress of worrying how every little bill is to be met and it leads to a relaxed atmosphere of prosperity that can give the next generation an additional level of reassurance if their parents aren’t constantly arguing about finances.
A strategy of agree on a monthly amount to save, put it away and forget about it is the best possible strategy to navigating the uncertain waters of life. Marriage is not as free as the ancient Romans would have liked it to be, but at least with a little fiscal discipline we can make it a much easier cross to bear.