Personal Finance Tips for Couples
This week’s post I decided to talk about Personal Finance Tips for Couples.We live in a time where marriage has lost a bit of that sacred meaning of “Til death does you part”. Marriage has endured a rough patch in the U.S. with nearly 50% of all marriages ending in divorce. However, being a union has some pretty nice financial advantages over being single. I read a quote that I believe is a great example of the power of marriage “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford. The power of two individuals deciding what goals they want to achieve and collectively drive towards those goals is magical. I have been blessed to have a partner in every aspect of my life. My wife and I have a beautiful relationship of balance, compromise, and shared visions for our future. I believe happiness resides in the journey towards your dreams. We have practiced several strategies to improve our communication and our marriage through personal finance. I believe that relationship building is extremely important for married couples. So for that reason, I will share 10 personal finance tips that have helped my marriage and will help yours if you are married or engaged.
Personal Finance Tips for Couples
#1 Talk Openly about your financial status prior to getting married. This includes your assets, liabilities, credit score, and personal financial goals. If you are awful with money and have a mountain of debt, don’t want to inform your partner that you need help managing your finances. I would advise against combining income or paying your partner’s bills if you are not married. Simply save aggressively and pay those bills off after your tie the knot. If you are already married, set a weekly date (we do Starbucks or Sunday breakfast) to plan, revise, and talk about your goals and financial plan.
#2 Define Self Improvement Goals. In order to improve our circumstances we need to improve ourselves. The famous Jim Rohn was quoted to have said “To have more you simply have to become more. You have to work harder on yourself than you do at your job. If you work hard at your job, you can make a lot of money. If you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune. ” Think of the compounding impact of a team working in unison to achieve a joint goal that betters the lives of each individual and provides fulfillment and happiness. It is priceless to have the love of your life assist you in becoming a better person while gaining the vision and dreams you have decided to pursue. I urge you to seek to improve yourself and your situation will improve to match the person you become! Define with your partner the five goals you collectively want to achieve for 1 year, 3 year, and 10 year deadlines.
#3 Create a Financial Plan. We just reviewed goals. It can be assumed that most of your goals will require capital. Additionally, many of those goals will probably plugged into your financial plan. You don’t need a financial adviser to create a personal financial plan. This plan is simply a sacred list of the monetary goals that you wish to achieve. Retirement plans, kids college, higher education, home purchase, which assets you wish to purchase, and saving’s goals. The key here is to write it down and place it in a binder, folder, or frame. Come up with this plan together and be sure to make it connect to your personal dreams.
#4 Share Costs. If you are married you should have one account in which all income goes into. The bible is quoted as saying “to the, I pledge all my wordly goods”. When you are married your share your lives as one. It means that you now have to communicate better and compromise more. In my home, we have a joint account and two personal checking accounts. We divert personal funds to our personal accounts for monthly spending, and our incomes both go into our joint account. If you are engaged you need to share cost according to the ratio of total income vs. expenses. For example if you earn 60% of the income you should be paying 60% of every joint expense per month. This makes things fair for both partners.
#5 Communicate your needs and wants. In my home I found this to be the most difficult. We pay our expenses a month in advanced and plan our spending that way as well. I have to depend on my wife to communicate all of our variable spending each month. Which sometimes can be difficult. If you want your budgets to work, you need to be realistic. If you need clothing, shoes, or a weekend getaway you have to plan it advance and communicate the desire to your partner. No one knows you need 3 blouses and two pair of flats.
#6 Respect each other’s contribution. Now that you are sharing assets, liabilities, and income; there is automatically going to be one person who is doing a better job at this game of life. Be sure to respect your spouses or partner’s contribution to the household. If you are the “breadwinner” remember that your income is no longer yours when you become married. In addition to income, respect your partner’s desires, input, financial acumen, and values. If your spouse desires to be debt-free and you are a loan seeker, you should embrace your partners values and compromise the behavior that makes your spouse uneasy.
#7 Support your Partner through ups and downs. “I invite everyone to choose forgiveness rather than division, teamwork over personal ambition.” –Jean-Francois Cope. The biggest cause of divorce is money problems. Men have pride attached to money and in a world where women are now earning more, it is quite possible that men deal with being out-earned by their spouse. I like money, and it wouldn’t bother me. However, loss of a job while your partner pays all the expenses could really emotionally wreck a person. Remember you are a team, you need to support your spouse/partner through the ups and downs.
#8 Be Professional and Polite. We often save our most nasty moments for those who we treasure. I have said several things to my wife that I would never say to those who I do business with. I would suggest the continued improvement on communication and treating your spouse like a delicate flower that you have been tasked with caring for. Treat your partner like a professional business partner when dealing with personal finance. You are speaking to a person who has forfeited direct control of their hard-earned income for the betterment of the union. Try to remember this as you sit for weekly meetings.
There you have it! Work as a team towards defined goals and success is sure to follow. I listen to tons of podcasts and read hundreds of articles; whenever a married couple accomplishes goals it is directly the result of both partners working in unison and sacrificing selfish desires that hinder the shared vision. Hope you enjoyed reading, please share and subscribe!