Early in our marriage and careers, money was tight, and the idea of saving money seemed impossible. Through trial and error, we found out it wasn’t impossible. Here are a few of the lessons we learned, including the most important:
1. Communicate: Talking about money can be difficult because it means different things to different people. Without talking about it and understanding how the other person feels about money then it will be very difficult to start a savings plan. Honest and open discussions about money can help couples and families get on the same page when it comes to money.
2. Find what works for you: We tried several things including separate checking accounts, cash allowances and more. The one thing we both agreed on was paying ourselves first and we set up automatic savings to our accounts at the credit union and to investments. It really is true that if you set it up to come out before it hits your spending account, you won’t miss it.
3. Start today! The earlier the better when it comes to saving, especially retirement saving. Early career me couldn’t imagine how quickly the years pass by and that idea of retirement come rushing at you.
4. MOST IMPORTANT: None of the first three matter if you don’t have a reason to save. You must have a goal or purpose for the money you are setting aside.
For my wife and I in our early marriage phase it was to buy a starter house and to travel. We loved travel and would take at least three trips a year. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with one of my friends at that time when he remarked that he hadn’t had a vacation in over 3 years, and he noticed we traveled all the time. He knew that he and his wife made a substantial amount more pay than we did. He asked how we did it and I told him we make it a priority. In the discussion it came out that he and his wife spent thousands on shoes each year which easily would have paid for at least one of our trips. After our conversation they set a goal and had their first vacation in years later that year.
Over the years our why has changed. First it was planning on children and having my wife stay home with them. Then it turned into college for the kids and now we are shifting our attention to retirement. But the constant has always been having a reason to save.
The opinions expressed on this page are those of the credit union’s Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors, staff members and other authors and may not reflect the views of the credit union. Information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of each article.