Matrimonial money matters


First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes . financial implications of marriage?

Recently engaged senior Tina Franzke’s initial thought about the financial implications of marriage wasn’t about credit cards or joint accounts, but the impending wedding.

“My first thought was, ‘can we get the church and the hall?'” she said.

She began to consider the other financial implications around a week later, she said. Most of the joint financial decisions between Franzke and her fiancé have been about what they would be willing to share concerning wedding expenses.

But in the future, Franzke said she would be willing to combine such things as their accounts.

“There’s a lot that goes into a wedding . and a marriage,” she said, adding couples need to consider certain expenditures and things people take for granted, such as cars and cell phones.

Franzke said her parents share a joint checking account and credit card, which she thinks is a good idea.

The first thing Franzke suggest is to make a budget, which she said she is still learning how to do. Learn to cut back and figure what you can afford, she said. This isn’t just a decision for one person.

“You’re in this together.”

Just married
For senior Katie Haas, planning for a joint budget and other critical expenses began right away. Her husband, Noah Haas, who had already graduated from college, is a staff member of The Navigators, a non-profit Christian group on campus, and needed to set a budget. Katie and Noah were married in August.

For Haas, marriage in college didn’t make financial issues worse, she said; it didn’t really change much. And, in some cases, it has its perks and some new experiences.

“It’s been nice, I got financial aid,” she said, adding after getting married, the couple got a joint credit card and combined their accounts. Haas said her husband helps her with her taxes because she did not have much experience with that before the marriage.

Haas said she would advise students considering marriage or getting married to plan a monthly budget and to consider all of the costs first. Students should avoid putting anything on credit and only school loans as a last resort, she said.

“Be conscious of debt,” she said.

The long haul
Being married before attending college makes a big difference, junior Isa Small said. Married students, she said, are considered independents.

While she said she receives more financial aid as a married student, she feels she and her husband are not like normal students in some aspects. If she were not married, she said, she would care about how nice the place she lived was, or if she ate Spaghetti Os. But because she is married, it’s different.

“We feel like we have to have nicer things,” she said.

After getting married six years ago, Small and her husband moved in and opened a joint checking account together. But, Small said, they considered financial implications long ago.

“We had talked about it way before we got engaged.”

Students considering marriage should talk about money, because the situation changes, Small said. It is no longer one person’s money, but everyone’s.

Another view
It is difficult for students to balance school and a job, as well as another person, economics professor Tom Kent said.

“I would hope they would consider the financial implications,” he said. Students considering marriage need to decide if they want a joint checking account or a separate checking account as well as have a good understanding of spending. For example, Kent said, if a husband wants a new car and they wife doesn’t agree, there will be problems.

“Once you’re married, all spending decisions become joint decisions.”

Other decisions include who will pay for school expenses, permanent living decisions and even employment, he said. Individual expense do not go up, but married students have to make decisions that unmarried do not appreciate. For example, he said, the likelihood of both people finding a job in Eau Claire (or in one place) is unlikely and one person may need to make a concession.

“Coming to terms . can be very difficult,” Kent added, and these issues have often been the cause of many break-ups.

From an economic point of view, Kent said he feels students are not ready.

“I would strongly discourage people from getting married in college,” he said.

However, for students who chose to get married, Kent said they should consider jobs and expenditures openly and not to pretend to understand.

“I would advise them to be honest and open with their partner.”