It’s no secret that finances are the ruin of many relationships. It’s a complicated subject for many couples, and it only gets more chaotic over time. Combining assets, discussing each other’s debts, figuring out how much to save and determining who is responsible for what are some of the issues you’ll need to work through.
While money talks will probably always be serious, they don’t need to negative (and definitely should not be emotional). Here are some suggestions for navigating finances successfully together:
Start a Joint Account
For any shared expenses you have, it’s helpful to have a joint account to pay with. However, it’s also important you keep your own separate accounts.
This set up will allow you to have access to money you can use on whatever you wish, without having to feel guilty you’re using your partner’s money.
Contribute Based on Percentages
In order to maintain a joint account, you’ll need to fund it. Chances are you’re not both making the same salary, which means a 50/50 split wouldn’t be fair. Instead, figure out what the total amount you owe in bills and base contributions on the percentages of the amount each of you nets.
Once you do the math and figure out what each of you needs to contribute, set up direct deposit for the joint account so it happens automatically.
Come Up with a Savings Plan
Besides shared expenses, you’ll also want to have a savings fund. This can be for emergencies, vacations, retirement or anything you’d like. This is another area where percentages can come in handy; you can figure out a percentage of your salary you’re both comfortable saving, and whether or not any 401(k) contributions are included in that.
If one person likes to save more than the other, you can always designate that person as the saver (they contribute more money to your savings fund), while the other person is the spender (they pay more of the expenses). This will hopefully limit and resentfulness down the road with one person feeling they’re more entitled to the savings funds.
Help Each Other Out
Does one of you have a lot of student loan debt? Or high credit card debt? It’s beneficial to you both if you’re financially healthy as an individual. While you should make shared expenses fair, you might want to factor in higher-than-minimum payments into your percentages when figuring out contributions.
By having open and honest communication about money, you’ll be set to be financially fit and happy.