Love and Money: The Newlywed’s Guide to Finances and Your Dream Home

After the fun of a wedding is over, the union between you and your partner can involve a lot of paperwork. Merging finances, changing names if you choose, and sometimes moving in together for the first time. 


In today’s day and age, fewer couples are on the traditional path of buying a home immediately after their wedding. So, how do you navigate taking a less conventional path to your dream home? This guide will explain the ins and outs of combining finances after marriage, forging your path, and building a new life together – no matter who’s still paying down their student loans.


The Millennial Marriage Reality: Leave Expectations at the Door


Previous generations’ ideas of success looked like this: you get married, immediately buy a house, have kids, and work at the same job for years. So what’s the current situation? Generally speaking, Millennials are waiting much later to do…well, any of that. A 2020 Statista report shows that the percentage of Millennials who got married between the ages of 23 and 38 was about 44%. Compare that to 53% of Gen-X and 61% of Boomers, and it’s a decent-sized drop.


What about homeownership? According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2023, the median age of a homebuyer was 36 – the highest it has been since they began collecting data in 1981 when the median age was 28 to 33. They report many different factors as contributing to this phenomenon, including:


  • High interest rates
  • Student loan debt
  • Rising rent costs
  • Credit card debt
  • Rising childcare costs


These factors contribute to potential homebuyers being unable to save for a down payment, putting homeownership out of reach for many young people.


Does that make us failures?


No. It’s essential to remember that each generation faces its own challenges, advantages, and cultural expectations. That means what your parents experienced is likely different from how things will play out for you.


It’s crucial to embrace your unique situation instead of comparing yourself to any kind of expectation about what you “should” do by a certain age.


How to Merge Finances After Marriage


The factors affecting Millennial newlyweds differ from those of older generations, meaning that the process of merging finances and saving up for traditional milestones looks different.


Note: The following is not financial or investment advice. Please consult a financial specialist for specific guidance.


Am I responsible for my spouse’s debt?


According to Consolidate Credit, when a couple gets married, their credit scores, debts, and loans remain separate. The only time loans and debts are combined is when a married couple co-signs on the loan, credit card, mortgage, etc. That means lenders will consider each of your credit scores and financial background if you apply for a mortgage together.


How do we combine our finances?


There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for combining finances. Some couples may combine certain aspects of their finances while keeping others separate. Consult your financial advisor for tips specific to your situation, but one way you could combine your money is to open a joint checking account or a joint savings account to work toward mutual goals.


Plan Your Future With a Purpose


The journey towards your dream home often starts in a rental. While compromise in marriage is essential, don’t consider this a compromise – think of it as a strategic step toward your long-term goals. You’ve promised each other forever, so putting off buying your first home for a few years isn’t the end of the world. Here are a few ways to make the journey more fun and achievable.


1. Set specific, reachable goals.


Work with your spouse to set goals that you can both work towards. The larger goals could be buying a house, paying off student loans, or something else. Set smaller goals that you can check off quickly within those significant goals. Taking steps towards your big financial and personal goals will help keep you motivated.


2. Build your nest, even if you’re in a rental.


Sometimes, decorating a rental property can feel pointless. After all, it’s not yours forever, even if you plan to rent permanently. While you may not own it, you can still make it your own. Redecorating with renter-friendly decor and furniture can help you feel more comfortable in your space. 


If you can’t change your entire space, consider home and bedroom decorating ideas for couples, such as: 


  • Getting a matching bedroom set
  • Adding new furniture, such as dressers, for both of you
  • Hanging your wedding photos, gallery wall style
  • Upgrading your dining room table to accommodate guests (did someone say dinner party?)
  • Carve out your own spaces, such as individual home offices or rooms to do your hobbies


Changing up your living space, even if you lived together before marriage, can be symbolic to reflect the new step in your relationship.


3. Try out different locations.


One of the enormous benefits of not owning a home? You aren’t tied to one place! Consider this phase of your life an opportunity to explore different neighborhoods, new cities, or even new countries! It can grant you a chance to learn about the types of places you enjoy and better inform your decision to put down roots.


4. Enjoy the process.


You and your spouse have started a new chapter of your lives. Whether or not you’re on the “traditional” path to home ownership immediately after getting married, it’s important to enjoy where you’re at. One day, you’ll look back on your newlywed chapter and smile. It’s all a part of the process.


CORT Furniture Rental Can Help You Furnish Your Dream!

Even if your dream home is out of reach right now, it’s essential to feel comfortable and at home with your furnishings. That’s what we’re here for – making your life easier during this transitional time. Whether you’re moving for work, saving up to purchase a home, or taking another path, we’re here to help make this temporary time in your life feel more steady.

Visit your local CORT showroom in person or get started online. You can pick from Move-In Ready packages for convenience or customize your package to every detail. We’ll work with you to arrange a delivery date, and our team will deliver your furniture. Then, you can decide your pickup date, and we’ll do the heavy lifting. Visit CORT Furniture Rental online or in person today.

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