Several studies have found that money is a top cause of stress in relationships, especially in times of so much uncertainty and struggle as have been the last months. How can you manage your money as a couple and avoid problems at home?
Managing your money as a couple is not as simple as it seems. To start with, a lot of people hate having “the financial talk” and this is probably one of the most important things when it comes to managing your household’s finances. Money can be a big issue if the topic is not approached in the right way so, how can you manage your money in a smart way?
If you are not sure how to approach the subject, here are some tips that will help you:
Discuss bank accounts together
There is really no right answer when it comes to sharing —or not— a bank account. Separate bank accounts are usually the starting point for any couple, as long as both parties get their paychecks there. Keeping them this way means each one is responsible for their own debt.
If this is your choice, you can split rent and then assign bills individually. One may be in charge of cable, groceries, and credit cards and the other one might be in charge of insurance, the electric bill, and loan payments, for example.
You can also decide to go for a joint account and this may be an excellent move if you want to strengthen your relationship because it shows commitment. This, however, also means that the other person will get to know all of your deepest financial secrets and you will both have to work together to make the most out of your money. It will require a lot of talking and a lot of compromises.
Don’t be afraid to talk to each other
A lot of couples fear this conversation, but the biggest mistake when it comes to managing money as a couple is not expressing thoughts, fears, dreams, and goals. This is why, some experts recommend a three-way approach to make things a lot easier: a dream date, a money date, and a budget date.
These dates don’t have to be formal. Just go out for a cup of coffee and talk about your dreams, goals, or how you see yourself in the future.
These dates can be a little bit more difficult, but they are necessary. This date is to solve any financial issue you might have and is when plans and compromises are made. But before you start, set ground rules: no blaming, no name-calling whatsoever, stay open, don’t get defensive. This is the moment to put it all out there and start solving problems.
These are the last dates and you will use them to make a real plan. In order to create a joint budget, you first need to know your goals, your partner’s goals, and, most importantly, you need to have solved any issue in between.
Once all that is settled, you are definitely ready to create a budget between the two of you to achieve your goal in no time!