Money can be a stressful topic, which is why it comes as no surprise that combining finances with a partner can be a difficult task. Sharing finances traditionally occurred after marriage when the couple moved in together. In today’s society, many couples are combining their homes and financial lives prior to marriage, which can get a little tricky to figure out at first. While every relationship is different, here are some tips to help you and your partner avoid financial fights:
Be open about your debt and current financial status
Just like any part of a relationship, starting on trust is important. When you begin to combine finances, you should be as open and honest as possible about your current status. This includes telling your partner any debt, loans, or credit card balances you have. You should also discuss your credit history, how you believe money should be handled and any money goals you have. This ensures that you are starting your financial journey with honest communication, which will help to avoid any future surprises.
Divide your financial responsibilities
It is important (especially in the beginning) to make sure you are sharing finances. This will help to make sure that you are both contributing equally or however you decide together is best. Make sure you each know what you are individually responsible for and which bills you are sharing together. Know what dates bills are due so that you don’t miss a payment and play the blame game. This will minimize late payments, surprise expenses, and fighting.
Set financial goals as a couple
Setting goals for large purchases, such as a house or car, will allow you to save for them together. It is rewarding to be able to buy something that you know you both worked hard towards together, which can make your relationship stronger. It also keeps more open communication, so you can be on the same page regarding which big purchases should be prioritized.
Establish a budget (and track it)
When you collectively decide how much should be spend on things, such as eating out and groceries, it can be easier to stay on track with your savings. Keep the honest, open dialogue about where your money is going and come up with a plan together about how to save. If you track your budget, you will have concrete material that you can sit down with at the end of each month to evaluate together. This is not meant to be used to point fingers, it should be used to educate yourselves and allow you to plan for the next month.
Consider having separate bank accounts
This is a tip for those who are newly combining finances. You should be careful and cautious whenever you give away control over your money. It can be risky and lead to later fights. If you and your partner are beginning to talk about joining finances, consider opening up one shared account for savings and one for checking, while keeping your personal ones as well. This will ensure that you are working together towards savings and have an account to pay mutual bills, without giving away control over all of your finances at once.
If you need help getting your finances in order, click here to work with a financial coach who can help.