If you’re in a relationship, it’s likely that two of your main priorities in life are your partner and your money. Both are key to your happiness, and money also gives you the opportunity to be stable and financially free.
Because of this, couples often talk about money. In fact, studies show that over 70% of couples talk about money on a weekly basis.
However, there’s a good chance that you and your partner occasionally fight over money. Multiple studies have found that money is the number-one reason why couples fight, and it can be a big factor in relationships ending.
To make sure that you and your partner don’t end up a statistic, take steps now to ensure you share the financial load, understand each other’s views on money, and have planned enough to enjoy a long life together. Start here.
Living together? Get a shared lease
If you live with your partner but your name isn’t on the lease, you might find yourself homeless if your relationship ends. As they are the only official tenant, the home is theirs, even if you’re paying half of the rent and bills. Make sure both you and your partner’s names are on the lease—you can even draft a cohabitation agreement that states how much you both pay toward rent and bills, or it could state that one person supports the other financially.
This helps to protect both parties if your relationship ends. For example, it means that your partner will be held responsible if they stop paying their share of the rent while they’re still living at the shared home. If you do this, write up your own to save money—just make sure to get it notarized.
Divide up the bills
Lots of couples allow one partner to do all of the bill paying and investing, as it feels more convenient. However, this leaves the other partner completely uninformed, which can be dangerous if the financially responsible partner leaves, or is injured. If you are in this situation, it might be time to investigate using a secure password program like 1Password for Teams, which allows you to safely store your logins online, without having to remember all the countless ways to login and pay bills. Having access to this information means you can make the payments if they’re unable to, and will help you feel more financially clued in. You can also sit down once a month to go over bills together so that both partners are informed.
Talk money before you talk marriage
It isn’t very romantic to talk about finances before getting married, but it’s absolutely essential. If you don’t have a money talk, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that your partner’s low credit score has made the mortgage more expensive—and you’re also more likely to fight about budgeting and saving.
Having a financial conversation means you’ll find out how your partner prioritizes money. This means you can both make compromises so that you’re both happy with the situation—instead of finding out after you’re married that you both have very different ideas about spending and saving.
Get disability insurance
It isn’t fun thinking about possible disasters, but there’s always the chance that one partner will become ill and unable to work, meaning you lose one source of income. This can make it impossible to pay bills on time, or to save money.
However, this is easily avoidable if you buy disability insurance. Disability insurance will pay a portion of the person’s income if they’re in an accident or become ill, which will help to cover costs until they’re able to work again.
Save up for the days to come
Lots of people don’t like thinking that far ahead, but it’s important to start saving up for your retirement as soon as possible. Make sure you have a 401(k) account; the tax is lower and your employer will match whatever you contribute, doubling your retirement savings. The sooner you start saving, the happier you and your partner will be when you retire.
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