Have you recently gotten engaged or married? Maybe you’re moving in with your partner and want to combine some expenses? If so, a great way to start this next step is to have meaningful conversations with your partner.
You may have already talked about children, values, and aspirations, but one topic that doesn’t always immediately come to mind is finances. Money is often a source of conflict for couples and you want to be sure to address the matter early on.
Communication is key. Be honest and willing to compromise and get started with these six fundamental topics.
6 Money Topics to Discuss with Your Partner
With shared expenses comes shared responsibility. It’s important to create a plan for how you’ll both manage your money. Will you open a joint account in which you deposit both your paychecks? Will you instead open a joint account for household expenses, while having separate individual accounts? There is no one or ‘right’ way – go with the option that works best for both of you.
You and your partner might take on different responsibilities at home; for example, one person regularly does the grocery shopping and another does the yard work. Managing your finances, however, should be a joint effort. Be sure to discuss what each can afford to spend on what and what you’ll do to ensure your bills are paid on time.
Up to this point, you’ve had the luxury to spend as you please. If pooling your money together, it’s best to set some rules. Will each of you have an allowance for wants? Should you consult your partner when spending over a certain dollar amount? Use communication and be clear in your wants and needs to avoid problems down the road.
You both have likely incurred some debt and that’s perfectly fine. You just want to be sure you’re on the same page. For example, if one of you is attempting to pay down debt while the other is constantly acquiring debt, your efforts are counterproductive. Chat about when it would be acceptable to borrow and generate a plan for paying down the debt you already have.
Life has a way of surprising us, and not always in a good way. You may get a flat tire, find that your dog had a nice time chewing up your glasses, or worse. What happens if one of you is laid off? Prepare yourselves by establishing an emergency fund. Aim to have at least 6 – 12 months’ worth of expenses so you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.
Areas like budgets, saving, and debt are closely related as they should be largely influenced by your goals. Talk to your partner about what you would like to accomplish and where you would like to be in five years or 20 years. Are there goals you can work on together? Would you like to buy a home, travel, or prepare for a baby? You decide.
Need more help? Use our financial wellness partner, BALANCE, for resources on topics like debt, buying a home, and saving for the future.LEARN MORE