Many studies have found that financial troubles can end a relationship. While the romantic in you may think you’d never let money come between you and your beloved, the issue tends to come up at some point with every couple.
Different goals, lifestyles and hobbies make everyone unique, but they may also require serious discussions and compromises.
Here’s how to successfully navigate finances with your partner.
1. Discuss Your Priorities
Here are some important things to think about:
- Where do you want to live? Do you want to rent or own?
- Do you want kids? How many? How will you set up a college fund for them?
- Do you want to go back to school yourself?
- Do you have an emergency fund? How much should be in your emergency fund? What constitutes an emergency?
- What kind of car do you need? Want?
- Is travel important to you?
- Do you need business clothes for your office? What other work expenses do you have?
- What do you like to do for fun? Are up-to-date gadgets important?
Remember to keep emotions out of this discussion. Don’t belittle your partner for having different priorities and understand that compromises will need to be made on both sides.
2. Set Up Bank Accounts
It’s fine if you decide to keep individual accounts, but most couples do have an account between them to handle household finances. This can be handled in different ways:
- Both of your incomes can go to the joint account and you both access these funds on a day-to-day basis
- The joint account is set up for household bills only with an “allowance” set to deposit into your individual accounts
If you have different spending habits, it may be better to keep the individual accounts to more fairly distribute the “extra” cash.
3. Pick an Administrator
No one enjoys paying bills, but one of you may be better at staying organized. To reduce any confusion, designate one person to handle the bills and monitor finances for any joint accounts.
4. Make a Budget
Once you have an idea of what your priorities are as a unit, you’ll need to start a budget. This worksheet can help you out.
The hardest part of a budget is sticking to the budget. Open communication will help you stay on track.
5. Schedule Check-ins
It won’t do any good if you set up your budget and finance plan only to forget about it. Have scheduled check-ins a couple times a month to discuss if you’re on track and comfortable. You may need to make adjustments as you go.
How do you handle money in your relationship?
Share your success story in the comments below!