When you’re single, your financial success depends on your own actions. Your credit history, savings plan, and ability to repay debt rest solely on your shoulders. When you’re part of a couple, though, a new factor that’s often difficult to master comes into play: communication.
Talking openly about finances can be difficult, especially as a pair: Your best money management tips may not always be well-received when you’re part of a duo.
The key is to plan together openly and purposefully, setting emotions aside as much as possible. If you find yourself getting defensive, try to keep the final (important) goal in mind: your future financial security.
When you get on the same page from an emotional standpoint, it will be easier to tackle the year’s upcoming financial challenges. Set yourself up for success this year by setting a time to sit down together and discuss the following key financial topics:
- Consider your current expenditures vs. income. This one is basic but also essential. Together, evaluate whether your combined incomes cover all expenses and leave room for short- and long-term savings. If not, how can you reallocate parts of your incomes to meet all your necessities? (Our free budget worksheet can help here.)
- What are your goals? Lay out your individual hopes for the futures. Discuss anything that doesn’t match up and be prepared to make a few compromises. When you get on the same page regarding future plans, it will be easier to work together (and make any necessary sacrifices) to reach those goals.
- Openly evaluate whether one or both of you need reminders to stay on track. Once you’ve set up a spending plan, make a strategy to successfully stick to it.Do you pay bills on time and stay on track with your savings and debt repayment plans or does one of you need a bi-monthly calendar alert to check on the budget? Setting up outside reminders like this will take out the “nagging” factor while helping one or both of you stay the course.
- How do you split up financial responsibilities, and is it the best-case scenario? Do you share financial responsibilities equally? Or is one of you overwhelmed with tasks they strongly dislike or aren’t particularly strong at? Working as a couple has its challenges, but the flipside is that you’re not alone. You truly are a team, so approach your financial responsibilities with a teamwork mentality. Decide who can best handle what responsibilities. When you both work to your strengths, you have a better chance at success. Co-managing finances can be challenging, but it is possible to create a simple and attainable plan that works for both of you. A successful strategy always begins with sharing your thoughts and goals and assessing your situation. By asking yourselves (and each other) some basic questions, you’ll have a starting point with a clear picture of where you stand, where you want to be, and how to get there.Are there do-or-die financial planning rules you and your spouse can’t live without? Share your best money management tips in the comments.
- Make this year a financial success by downloading our free discussion guide about managing money together.