Jul 10, 2017
It Takes Two: 6 Smart Tips for Couples and Their Finances
It’s easy to maintain a love connection when money is flowing. But things can get dicey when finances are tight.
It may be easy to maintain a love connection when money is flowing freely, but things get decidedly more difficult when finances are tight.
No matter who you are or how long you’ve been in a relationship, the state of your finances can have a profound impact on your life together.
The best way to avoid future financial turmoil is for both members of the relationship to be open and honest with one another.
Here are six smart financial tips to avoid financial disagreements:
Keep the lines of communication open
Good communication is an essential element of a happy marriage, and that also goes for financial matters. No matter how tough things get, keeping the lines of communication open is the best way for couples to pull through any difficulties with their relationship intact.
That honest communication about finances, investments, and spending should begin long before the walk down the aisle. Engaged couples should share everything, from their attitudes about spending and saving to the state of their own personal finances and credit histories. That way, there will be no surprises once the honeymoon is over and real life begins.
Set a ‘no questions asked’ spending limit
Forcing your significant other to ask permission for every penny he or she spends is a recipe for disaster – and a sure path to resentment in the relationship. It’s better to, establish a ‘no questions asked’ spending limit ahead of time.
It’s often the case that one spouse will take the lead on investments and major financial decisions
The size of the spending limit will depend on your resources and a host of other factors, but that’s not the most important part of the discussion. The presence of such a spending policy matters more than its size. Whether the limit is $100 or $100,000, the principle remains the same — trust and independence.
Establish short-term and long-term goals
It’s important for couples to be on the same page regarding short-term and long-term goals. Agreement on these goals will guide everything from investment strategy to day-to-day spending patterns.
Take the time to sit down together and talk about short-term goals and long-term future plans. There will likely be some give and take, but in the end you should come out with a plan you both can live with.
For example: If your long-term goal is saving for retirement and your partner’s is to buy a boat — there are likely to have big financial disagreements in the future.
Share expenses and budgeting
Even if one spouse is the main breadwinner, the other spouse should contribute financially in some way.It is easy for resentment to build up when one spouse takes care of all the expenses, so share costs in whatever way makes the most sense.
You do not have to split things down the middle; you’re a couple, not roommates. The key is to share expenses and budgeting responsibilities the same way you share other financial decisions.
Share responsibility and knowledge
It’s often the case that one spouse will take the lead on investments and major financial decisions, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If one spouse is an expert investor and the other one has no interest, allowing the seasoned expert to take the reins makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense is for the spouse taking the lead in such matters to completely shut the other partner out. Even if the other spouse has no interest in finances and investment, they need to make some effort to educate themselves. That’s particularly important since the death or incapacity of the investment guru could imperil the finances of the family.
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Whether you have been married for many decades or are just embarking on a life together, it’s important that you and your spouse be on the same page financially.
Disagreements over spending and problems with money are among the most common reasons for breakups, but you can minimize headaches by talking openly and honestly, sharing financial responsibilities, and making smart decisions about money with your partner.