Couples often need to work as a team to manage their finances. With good communication on both sides, financing with your significant other can be a breeze.
Relationships can be complicated. Finances can be complicated too.
Put relationships and finances together and you can potentially have a very complicated mess on your hands.
Thankfully, neither relationships nor money needs to be complicated if you just know how to have the right conversations.
When you start sharing finances with someone else there are several conversations you’ll need to have:
Talk About How You’ll Set Up Your Finances
There are many options available for how you can set up finances with your partner, and everyone is going to have different opinions about what you should and shouldn’t do.
The bottom line is that different methods of financing will work differently depending on the couple. One way might work for you but not for someone else.
You don’t want to find the way to finance with your partner, you want to find your way.
What accounts will you have? What will the purpose of each account be? Will you have a joint account, separate accounts, or a combination of both?
Don’t forget to talk about how you’ll set up your household’s savings and emergency fund and what guidelines or rules you might want to put in place for how and when those funds should or shouldn’t be used.
Talk About the Basic Sections of Your Household Budget
Now that you consist of a household, it’s time to make financial plans for that household. Sit down and talk out which sections or categories go into your household budget.
What bills do you both have to take care of together and individually? What costs and expenses does your household have? What other miscellaneous expense sections are common between the two of you?
Don’t forget to talk about any special budgeting sections that might be unique to you, your partner, or your household.
For instance, maybe you both really love to hike so a section for traveling and hiking might need to be included in your personal household budget.
Talk About What Expenses You Will and Won’t Share
Maybe only one of you is working and the other stays at home with the kids so most of the expenses will be taken care of by the one source of income.
Or maybe you both have income coming in and want to split the rent equally between the two of you.
Or maybe one of you will pay the rent and the other will pay the rest of the monthly bills.
How you share (or don’t share) expenses all depends on you and your partner’s personal situation and circumstances. Take your circumstances into account and make the best decision for your own family.
Talk About Money-Related Rules, Practices, or Guidelines
As a couple, talk about any money-related rules, practices, or guidelines you might want to establish as financial partners.
These should be things that help you both stay on the same page about your finances together.
For example, some couples have a spending limit for how much they are both allowed to spend before they have to run the purchase by the other before they buy.
Other couples like to have separate accounts dedicated to their own personal funds.
Do whatever works best for the both of you, just remember to talk about it together and stay on the same page.
Talk About Your Financial Goals
Last, but certainly not least, talk about your financial goals with each other.
You might both have personal financial goals like building a home office or getting that new mountain bike you’ve had your eye on. You also might have financial goals as a couple like buying a new car, paying off loans, or saving up to buy a house.
Sit down and make sure you’re both on the same page about what your financial goals are, and which goals take priority. It might help to list your financial goals out in order of importance and then make plans together for tackling each item on the list.
Families come in all shapes, sizes, and circumstances. The truth of most matters, including financial ones, is that there is no one universal answer for everyone.
All we can do is take the time to talk one-on-one with each other and find the financial solutions that work best for you and your relationship.