[guestpost]If I could shake young-and-stupid-newly-married-Bethany, I would. We made so many money mistakes, and I wish we had listened to our parents and educated ourselves instead of learning money lessons the hard way. Today, Steve Repak, CFP®, author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money, shares awesome tips. Learn from him!! You won’t regret it!!!![/guestpost]
Through my many years of working with them I have learned that couples will resist taking advice from their better half but they will take advice from a total stranger. It is not an insult to you or your better half, it is just the truth. With that said I don’t come bearing gifts of money but instead I want to share with you four things to do with the wedding money your friends and family have given you.
Proverbs 11:24 (NIV)
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”
(1.) Give God His due
If you really want to start your marriage on the right track, learn to give at the beginning. If you have your priorities in order now it will make life so much easier later. How can it help you financially? When you give, you have no choice but to live on less which is not just biblical but also the cornerstone of personal finance. Show God what your true priorities are by giving to Him a part of your financial treasures.
1 Corinthians 16:2 (NIV)
“On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
(2.) Fund your “life happens” account
Nobody plans on bad things happening such as your car’s transmission going out or needing to replace your refrigerator, but you need to have some cash in safe, short term savings to cover these types of emergencies, because it isn’t a matter of if they will happen, it is only a matter of when.
If you don’t have anything in savings and an unplanned expense does come up, you won’t have any choice but to use a creditcard. Your ultimate goal is to have at least 3-6 months of your monthly non-discretionary spending in an account separate from your checking account. If you are not starting out with this, consider setting aside a portion of your wedding money to start or add to your “life happens” account.
Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”
(3.) Talk to a counselor
You are probably thinking to yourself that you just got married so why would you need to talk to a counselor. You may not need a marriage counselor, but you would be wise to talk to a financial counselor. A Certified Financial Planner ™ (CFP®) can help both of you plan a road map to your golden years and help you decide where to put some of your wedding cash for your longer term financial goals. You can find a local CFP® by going to www.cfp.net.
1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
(4.) Blow some of your cash
I know I will get some negative comments and 1 Timothy 5:8 is speaking more towards the area of balance at work, family, etc. but I believe there should be balance also when it comes to money. Give God His due, but find balance with the rest of your money. Extremes seldom work and I have found that couples who have balance in their lives are happier. Spend, spend, spend will lead to poverty while save, save, save can lead to resentment. Be responsible with most of your wedding cash, but do set aside a small portion to spend on things you both like or things you both like to do!
[reminder]What’s one money lesson you wish you had learned the easy way?[/reminder]
Steve Repak, CFP®, is an Army veteran, transformational speaker and consultant. Steve was selected the 1995 Fort Bliss, Texas Non Commissioned Officer of the Year and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Management Communications from Amridge University. He now works for himself as a successful Certified Financial Planner™ in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and three children. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org