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Dear Dangerously in Love with Your Finances,

I am newly married woman in Newberg and plan to leave my job in the next year to run my business full-time. My husband says that he’s worried about how this will impact our finances. What should I tell him?

~ Balancing Business and Marriage

Dear Balancing Business and Marriage,

Congratulations to you! This is a popular time of year for weddings, so I hope that other new couples will see this advice. It is my hope is always that, alongside managing the expense of the ceremony, couples take the time to discuss the less romantic aspects of their lives together, like their financial future.

Talking about money in your marriage is crucial. Getting into good habits now will help you navigate the inevitable ebb and flow of challenges you will encounter during your life together. The conversation becomes even more critical when a business is involved, because in the beginning that will be a drain on your marriage.

I believe in love and marriage to the fullest and hate to see money tear couples apart. By setting the stage now with discussions on values and budgeting, you can help navigate this tricky territory.

Learn Each Other’s Financial Values 

It’s my sincere hope that couples have this conversation when they begin to get serious, but it is often overlooked. Get a date night on the calendar and have a conversation about money. What are your hopes and dreams, what are you working towards, and what are your feelings towards money? Are you more of a saver and your husband a spender?

Find out your money personality and determine what it means for you and your marriage. Discuss the results of the quiz and share any concerns over your partner’s results. In your case, you’ll need to consider a third party, which is your future business’s money personality. Do you anticipate spending a lot of money upfront, or starting lean?

Be Open and Honest About Finances

Discussing your finances provides good lessons for marriage overall. It involves open, honest communication about a challenging subject.

Money is one of the major stressors of adulthood and as such, of marriage. Financial woes or tensions over finances can tear relationships apart with a quickness. Having clear and open communication around finances is key.

Unless it’s a winning lottery ticket, surprises around money generally aren’t a good thing. So if you don’t have the greatest credit history, now’s the time to talk about it. If you have substantial debt, make it known and come up with a plan together on how you’ll address it.

Define Your Common Goals

Once you know the lay of the land for your respective finances, you have the critical opportunity to come together as a unit to define your goals for the future. This is where you can create money values for your marriage.

Do you want to live simply for a defined period of time to pay down debt? Is saving up towards a major purchase, like a house, on the horizon? At what age do you each want to retire, and how much do you need to save each year to get there?

Creating your goals together should be a bright spot in your money talk. It makes whatever challenges and hard work that lies ahead mean something, as you know what you are working towards as a collective.

Create a Personal and Business Budget

Once you’ve and your husband have defined what you’re working towards, create a budget to map out what your monthly finances will look like to achieve those goals. Be sure to include all current expenses and outline how much you can allocate for major categories such as rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, clothing, transportation and the like.

Depending on how far along you are in your business plan, you may not yet be able to create a detailed business budget. However, look at the budget you create with your husband and determine how much you can afford to allocate to your business each month. It is critical that you keep your personal and business finances separate.  And then stick to that amount.

Continue the Conversation

Your finances, just like your marriage, are a long game. They take patience and practice. You can’t have one conversation about money and think that you’re all set. This is something that you need to do regularly. I recommend that you schedule time each month to review the previous month’s budget and see where things went awry, talk through challenges, and make necessary adjustments.

You will make mistakes. Be open about them, and come up with plans to address them. As you launch your business, that discussion should necessarily be added into the monthly mix, as that impacts your budget in so many ways, including the salary that you are able to bring in.

Just like love, money is an integral part of your marriage. By taking charge of the conversation from the beginning, your marriage and your business are in position to thrive.

Best of luck to you!

– Lozelle Mathai

Your Local Small-Business Accountant

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash