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Money conversations to have with your partner

We a couple choses to spend their life together they also choose to accept financial responsibility for each other. It it therefore, really important to talk about your finances. Having financial conversations from the beginning of the relationship and continuing them throughout are important to the stability of your relationship. This is especially important as money troubles as the leading reason for divorce in the USA. 
These conversations don't need to be super formal and try to avoid making them inquisitorial. What is important is that you both feel comfortable to share honestly. We know it can be super awkward but it will truly bring you together. 
When you first start talking about money early on in the relationship keep it simple are not overly personal. Perhaps just ask about opinions on investing, when do you want to retire etc. As you begin to be more open it is then it better to talk about more specifics and even progress to doing a regular meeting that can involve a monthly budget. Try to not be critical towards each other but help each other grow and develop financial sensibility. 
C and I advocate the value of having shared finances, through combining finances it helps to remove the individualistic attitudes associated with money and makes you think of your partner and your goals as a couple when making money decisions. Shared finances does not automatically mean that you have all shared account but it can be very useful to have at least the main current account (where the bills are paid) is shared. 
Below are some of the topics we recommend talking about:

1. Financial liabilities. Discuss what debts do you have, credit cards, student loans, car loan etc. Also talk about how much you have and who your creditors are. Its also a good idea to talk about how much monthly payments are and how your progress is with paying off the debt including the method you are using (debt snowball or avalanche). It is also good to talk about what debt you've had in the past as these experiences shape how we deal with our finances.

2. Financial assets. Got an emergency fund, savings, a home?. Discuss what assets you have and remember these will become joint upon marriage. Let your partner know where you keep these accounts (i.e with which bank) and the types of accounts you hold along with the balances. We choose to use a savings spreadsheet to manage our net-worth and allows us to keep track of our various accounts. 

3. Financial goals. It is important to create short and long term goals as a couple. This is needed so that you can shift from an individualistic approach towards money. It is important that you are both on the same page with your goals as this will guide your spending and investment. Talk about your attitudes, do you prefer to spend a high proportion of your income or are you keen on making savings a priority. This will help you to determine what 'finical success' means for you. When making financial goals it helps to discuss the lifestyle you want to live, for example do you expect to take regular holidays, send children to private school etc. It can also be useful talk about your parents attitudes to money as these have a huge impact on how you deal with money and set finical goals. It will also help you to understand each other's perspectives towards money. 

4. How are you going to spend. It is important to talk about how you are going to spend you money. Do you want to use cash primarily, debit card or credit card. The all have their pros and cons but it is important that you are comfortable with the method you use. It is also important to discuss how money will be budgeted and assigned. Will one person carry the cash for food if they always do the food shop. Who is going to keep an eye on the balance, the bill payments. Often one person will have a tendency to take a lead with the finances but its important that is a unanimous decision as to prevent the other partner feeling resentful. 

5. Learning from each other. Neither one of you are perfect, nor will you know everything about money. You will both have your strengths and weaknesses in you knowledge, so share what you know and ask for help in areas you don't know. Remember that you have both had different experiences and these shape how people manage money. 

6. Agree on risk. When you decide to invest your money discuss the level of risk and whether you both agree on this being an acceptable level of risk. It is not uncommon to have one person more willing to take risk than the other, so be prepared to make a compromise. The level of risk you are willing to take will be heavily influenced by your lifestyles.

7. Retirement Discuss your plans for retirement, what pension schemes are you paying into. Are you making the most of employer matching? How much do you collectively want to save and when do you plan on retiring. Let these answers guide how you prepare for retirement now. 

How do you and your partner discuss finances?
Disease Called Debt

1 comment

  1. This is a great list of financial topics to discuss with your spouse. It is a powerful thing when you are able to be on the same page about finances and can work together! #FinanciallySavvySaturday