Many married couples consider themselves one financial entity. Sharing finances has traditionally been a part of the journey after marriage, or when you move in together. But, what is the best way to manage your money together? In a recent U.S. survey, one-third of couples stated that finances were the most stressful aspect of their relationship. While every relationship is different, the following five tips can help your romance stay untarnished by financial woes (and to avoid money fights, which are the worst).
Be open about your debt and current financial status
The most important thing you can do to effectively manage money as a couple is to be as open and honest as possible about the current state of your finances. Letting your partner know about your debts, loans, credit history and money goals can keep an honest stream of communication, and ensure that there are no unwanted surprises in the future.
Be clear with each other on how you feel that money should be handled, what you hope to invest in, and what your financial goals (like owning a house or car) look like.
Divide your financial responsibilities
Another way to ensure that sharing finances doesn’t end in a disaster is to have an honest conversation about sharing financial responsibilities. Who is responsible for making the rent payment on time? How much should you each pay for utilities? Being clear about who pays for—and who facilitates—each bill can help you to work out what is fair and who is in charge of each bill. This can help minimize late payments (and their associated fees!), surprise expenses and of course, fighting.
Set financial goals as a couple
Setting goals on which large purchases you want to make with your partner can not only allow you to communicate what you see in your future, but can also allow you to save for them together. This can even get you to work together towards investments like a house, retirement, or a trip to Iceland. Making big plans and having things to look forward to can help strengthen your relationship and make your bonds stronger.
Don’t just take our word for it. The folks over at NPR included setting automatic contributions to long-term goals as one of their three tips for keeping money from messing up your marriage. Using budgeting tools or money management apps (like Simple) makes setting and maintaining savings goals easier than ever.
Establish a joint budget (and track it)
Deciding how much you will both spend on day-to-day things like eating out and groceries can not only help you stay on track with your savings, it can also stop you from having money squabbles, too. Having an honest, ongoing dialogue about finances with your partner can help you both understand your approaches to spending and saving, and can make it easier when certain financial situations arise and tough decisions need to be made. You can even gamify budgeting to make it more fun!
Consider having two bank accounts each
Opening a joint bank account is a great idea when you’ve decided to share finances. However, giving control of all of your money to another person can be not only risky, but cause avoidable fights. Consider opening up one shared account and one separate account for income that you wouldn’t otherwise spend on things involving the other person. This can ensure you to work together towards goals and be open about money, while retaining a little bit more of your individuality and control over your finances.
Being in a newly-committed relationship is an exciting feeling. Don’t let awful money fights ruin your romance when they could be avoided. By being open with your partner about finances and saving for both fun and practical things together, you can not only maintain your couple status, but strengthen it.
Learn more about Simple Shared, a joint account reimagined to be flexible enough for any level of partnership.
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