Fall might not officially arrive until sometime later in the month, but it arrives in my house September 1. It’s college football season, it’s fall, it’s my birth month; it is the first day of the best four months of the year, and the moments I enjoy more than any other. Dare I say I live for these four months every year? And to be a bit more specific, fall will not actually arrive at my house, ever. As a Floridian, I don’t even know what fall looks like. I know that somewhere it’s beautiful with cool, crisp days, beautiful fall colors and comfortable weather. Here it’s just as hot, just as humid and a little bit sweatier than summer since we’re all pretending we have fall in our blanket scarves and Tory Burch riding boots over skinny jeans.
The good news about fall and the impending holiday season, however, is that there is something so wonderful about this time of year. It is soft, romantic and very natural. So many people become engaged this time of year, which means you might be one of them in the coming months. There’s so much to focus on once you become engaged, such as calling your mother (she probably already knows it’s going to happen and has been dying for you to call and finally break the news) and taking that official Instagram engagement photo. Oh, and then there is the wedding planning stuff that you’ll have to think about.
One thing you really need to think about before anything else is your finances. Now that you are engaged, we have to assume you will become one at some point, and that means you need to become one with your finances. Planning a wedding is an expensive time in your life, so getting to the heart of money matters before you start putting down deposits and asking for your friends to stand up with you is pretty important. We have a short list for you; it’ll make your marriage start off just a bit better if you ask us.
Ask the difficult questions
Ideally, you know this before you wed a man or woman; what their credit score is, how they handle money and how they view money. It’s something you won’t talk about on your first date, but somewhere between date number one and “I think this is the person I can build my forever with,” you probably do have a little chat about all things money-related. You need to know these things in advance, or life might be a little ugly.
One thing that my husband and I did long before we got married was open up a joint savings account. We decided when we were engaged that we wanted to be able to have money put aside that came from both of us that we could use one day for something amazing – whether it was a nice vacation, a house or wherever the world took us. That money was ours to save and use for our wedding or whatever. We ended up using it as a down payment to build our first house – and we could not have made a better decision about that.
Make a budget
Now that you are planning a wedding and joining households and all that fun stuff, it’s time to start a budget. You need to know what type of expenses you have, where you can save money, how your finances look and what you can expect from your financial future. It’s a great way to start your lives off together, and it’s a way you can really get to know a bit more about the other’s finances.
If there is debt in the relationship, work to pay it off. If one of you struggles more than the other, take some financial courses together, schedule daily financial meetings with one another and learn to work as a team. Remember to be there for one another and don’t take out your frustrations on one another.
Create a list of goals
You’re getting married; you’re starting a life together whether you like it or not (we assume you like it since he asked and you said yes, right?). You have a future to consider, and it might include kids and a home and cars and travel and dreams. Now is the best time to discuss these so that you can make sure you’re able to meet your goals. The first way to meet your goals is to make some goals.
This is the type of conversation that is so important to have with one another. What do you want from the future? Do you want to buy a house, live here forever, move somewhere else, travel, have kids, save for retirement? What do you want? Talk about it now, and make some goals.
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