Did you know that money problems are one of the top three reasons for divorce in America? That is why it is important for couples to work together to make their financial decisions. Financial decisions can be hard enough as an individual, so share your financial decision making ideas together. Whether you choose to combine your money or manage with separate bank accounts, it's wise to communicate your goals and financial aspirations.
Here is a look at ten ways that couples can make financial decisions together.
10 Ways Couples Can Make Financial Decisions Together
- Start Early
The best time to discuss money is when the relationship becomes serious enough that you are living together, discussing marriage, or considering combining funds. Discussing money issues together will help better prepare you and your significant other to make large purchases as well as save for retirement.
- Make time to talk
It is a good idea to make time to talk about the finances. As a couple, you should have financial conversations at least once a month. Here are the issues that should be discussed:
- What bills are due?
- Identify any unexpected expenses or financial windfalls
- How much money is being saved?
- What are the future financial goals?
When these questions are discussed regularly, handling any problems or unexpected financial issues will become much more comfortable and natural to have.
- Write out all financial decisions
Once you and your significant other have discussed your finances, you should write it all down. This will help to keep both of you accountable for what was agreed to in the conversation. Also, writing everything down makes it easier to track your money and your financial goals.
In addition to writing down all financial decisions, you can use several financial tools available to help you enter and track your financial information. A simple internet search will yield several options, whether a phone app or a downloadable spreadsheet.
- Hide nothing from each other
It is extremely important that nothing is held from each other during financial conversations. This will prevent stress from hidden financial issues from forming later. Here are some of the more sensitive issues that should be addressed:
- All income sources
- All debt
- Any issues with debt collectors
- Any spending issues
- Listen and actively participate in the discussion
One of the best ways for a couple to become financially prosperous is for both members of the relationship to listen to each other. That is because two people will generally be better than one person when it comes to making big decisions.
Each member of the relationship should listen to the other. Doing so will allow for mutual respect during important financial discussions.
Anytime there is an issue or a change in financial situations, both members of the relationship should communicate with each other. For instance, if an unexpected cost comes up (such as a vehicle repair bill), both people should know about the bill's cost. If there is a money crunch at the end of the month, you and your significant other will know why.
- Work out the numbers of each financial decision
When it comes to major financial decisions, such as buying a house or a car, the numbers should be reviewed before saying "yes" or "no" to that decision. Here are some of the numbers that you should look at when it comes to big financial decisions:
- The down payment
- The interest rate
- Monthly costs
- The total cost
- The length of the loan
- The appreciation or depreciation of the asset
- Do not leave one person "in charge" of finances
It might seem easy and tempting to leave the finances to the person who enjoys it or is skilled in finance. However, this approach could be a problem for several reasons. Here's a list of the issues that can happen when one person completely leaves themselves out of financial decisions:
- One person may not understand why there are money issues.
- One person in the relationship may have undue stress from trying to make all the financial decisions.
- If the person in charge of the money becomes incapacitated, the other person may not know what to do.
- Be ready to compromise
There will be times when you will need to compromise when it comes to making financial decisions. Those compromises will be easier when you make it as a couple. For instance, you may want to drive a luxury car. However, that may not be the best decision if you want to achieve your financial goals.
Here are some of the most common issues that may require some compromise on both sides of the relationship:
- Home purchases
- Auto purchases
- Entertainment expenses
- Investment decisions
- Put plans into action
Finally, it is essential to put your financial plans into action. Some of these actions can be as small as writing things down. Other actions can include some helpful things, such as setting up automatic bill payments. Here are some helpful financial actions that you can make as a couple:
Actively saving each month
Putting spending alerts on all credit cards
Setting up automatic bill payments
Finding ways to save
Finding new income opportunities
Staying in control of financial issues
Being open about each other's financial situations can go a long way in creating a happy, healthy relationship. Be sure to have regular conversations about each other's financial situations. Be sure to listen to each other and put your plans into action.