How to Manage Money as a Couple

Ready to combine finances? Here are five options to help you gain financial bliss with your partner.

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You budgeted together to plan your wedding—don’t let money become a problem after the big day. While studies show that money is one of the top causes of divorce, that doesn’t mean finances have to put a wedge in your relationship. Use these tips to help find financial harmony with your better half.

Don’t make money a taboo topic

When it comes to money, silence is not golden. According to several studies, one in five Americans is hiding secret debt from their partner. Some were even hiding a secret checking account. Not only are these habits detrimental to your relationship, they will keep you from achieving your financial goals. Be honest and upfront about your spending habits, financial accounts and debt, so you know what each of you brings to the table.

Know your money personality

Set aside time with your partner to figure out your unique attitudes toward finances. Are you a spender? Is your partner a saver? Think seriously and speak candidly about the kind of relationship you have with money. It’s OK if you and your partner have different views. Make a plan that works for both of you and capitalizes on each other’s strengths. For example, if your partner is a saver, consider having him or her take charge of the budget to rein in expenditures. If you’re more organized with finances, take the lead on paying the monthly bills.

Decide what’s yours, mine and ours

There’s no tried-and-true method for handling financial accounts as a couple. Some couples choose to have a joint banking account, while others keep finances separate. You could both keep separate accounts but also have a shared account to handle your daily living expenses. Easy online banking can make it simple to review your account balances and transaction history together as a couple. Find what works for you and your partner. No matter how you maintain your accounts, you and your partner must remain aligned when it comes to finances.

Set a budget and goals—together

Sit down with your partner and create a budget you’ll share as a couple. It may take some work and negotiation to find common ground, but being on the same page will pay off. Next, discuss your milestones and goals—such as paying down debt or saving for retirement—and create an actionable plan together. Separate your goals by short-term and long-term priorities as well as wants and needs to see how these fit into your budget. Work together on your common goals and you’ll be on your way to your shared financial future.

Remember to still have fun

Finances don’t have to be serious all the time. If you’re financially stable, have an emergency fund and are able to follow the budget you’ve set together, consider setting aside fun money—disposable income that you can enjoy at your leisure. This can help alleviate stress and can foster a happy relationship. Use the money for things you take pleasure in, whether it’s a shopping spree, a vacation or a nice dinner out. Consider it a reward and pat on the back for putting in the effort to reach financial bliss with your partner.

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