Money matters in relationships can be a sensitive and awkward subject, but they are an essential part of building a healthy and thriving partnership.

When you’re both aware of each other’s financial habits, goals, and dreams, you can work together as a team to achieve them. Whether it’s saving up for that dream vacation, buying a home, or starting a family, being financially aligned with your partner enables you to create a game plan and conquer those financial milestones together.

Different money opinions are normal – it’s all in how we handle them that matters.

Discover how to navigate this money talk and lay a solid foundation for a prosperous future together.

couple holding hands

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of having the much-needed “money talk” in your relationship.

How Money Impacts Relationships

Let’s get real for a hot minute: we all share our lives with our partners, but do we share the truth about our finances? 

Money conversations can be tough, and society has made it feel “taboo”. But at the end of the day, it’s essential to have these conversations to keep your financial life healthy and thriving. 

Money is frequently cited as the number 1 cause of conflict in relationships.

According to CNBC money issues are the third leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity and lack of commitment.

Money conflict in relationships

Financial problems and differences put a huge strain on relationships and can quickly lead to decreased satisfaction.

Arguments about finances make it hard to maintain intimacy and happiness together.

Having frequent and honest conversations about money in a relationship, can create a healthier relationship all around.

Being on the same page about budgeting, spending, saving, and working towards shared financial goals is key for success. Partners should share their full financial pictures, listen to each other’s needs, and compromise.

With teamwork, understanding, and professional help if necessary, couples can overcome money issues.

Setting Financial Expectations

Let’s talk about that crucial moment when you need to bring up the money talk with your partner. Setting financial expectations early in a relationship is crucial for managing money as a couple.

But how?

Money can be a tricky topic, especially if you and your partner have completely different attitudes and goals about it. Couples are never going to agree on everything, that’s just reality.

So, how do we avoid frustration and keep the peace?

It’s all about identifying those differences of opinion and finding how to compromise.

Step one:

Figure out what your opinions on money are.

  • Are you a saver or a spender?
  • Do you have financial goals or dreams you want to achieve?

Lay it all out on the table!

Step two:

Once you know where each of you stands, work together to come up with a plan that works for both.

Whether it’s setting a budget, discussing financial priorities, or finding creative ways to tackle debt.

This allows you to work towards common financial goals.

This understanding and alignment creates a strong foundation for managing money together.

Combining Finances As a couple

When couples decide to merge their lives together, one big decision they face is whether or not to combine their finances.

There are pros and cons to maintaining separate accounts versus opening joint accounts.

Some key considerations include:

Pros of Joint Accounts

  • Simplifies budgeting and bill paying from shared pots of money
  • Allows partners to easily contribute to shared financial goals
  • Provides transparency and oversight into where the money is going
  • Symbol of unity and shared financial future

Cons of Joint Accounts

  • Loss of financial independence and privacy
  • Requires compromise as spending must align
  • All assets and debts pooled together

The Yours, Mine and Ours Approach

Pros of Separate Accounts

  • Maintains autonomy over personal finances
  • Keep discretionary spending separate
  • Limit exposure if relationship ends

Cons of Separate Accounts

  • More work for bill splitting and accounting
  • Harder to budget for joint expenses and goals
  • Can enable secrecy around spending

Regardless of whether couples combine accounts or not, it’s important to split shared expenses fairly.

Some options include:

Split proportional to income (If your partner makes more than you, they take on a larger percentage off the bills)

Split the expenses 50/50

Alternate expenses

Agree on a joint contribution amount monthly

For couples with large income disparities, proportional splitting may be the fairest method. Open communication and transparency are key, along with aligning on shared financial goals and priorities.

With the “yours, mine, and ours” setup, you can balance financial independence with shared responsibilities in a mature and effective manner. 

How to Budget Together

In a relationship, creating a shared budget you both can stick to is crucial for managing finances and avoiding money-related conflicts. Budgeting together requires compromise, being open about spending habits, and clearly defining financial goals.

There are various tools couples can use for tracking shared expenses, like the Finesse Formula.

The first step is calculating total monthly income and recurring shared expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, etc.

Be realistic about discretionary spending money for each person. Financial experts advise budgeting for 10-15% personal spending money for non-shared expenses.

When creating a budget, identify savings goals you want to work towards, like an emergency fund, a down payment for a home, a vacation, or retirement.

Automating transfers into separate savings accounts helps ensure you stick to budgeted savings amounts each month.

Revisit the budget regularly and communicate openly when changes are needed. Account for evolving financial situations like changes in income, expenses, or goals.

Maintain reasonable flexibility. With good planning and transparency around money, couples can create a workable shared budget.

Dealing with Debt as a couple

Debts and financial troubles don’t just disappear when two people start a relationship. But being open and making a plan is key to overcoming them.

Discuss debts and financial history openly with your partner before combining finances. Many couples find it helpful to exchange credit reports and create a master list of all debts owed. While this can be uncomfortable, transparency builds trust.

Aim to tackle pre-existing debts individually, if possible. There’s no obligation to take on your partner’s debt burden. Work together to pay down debts faster through budgeting and limiting spending. Agree on a timeframe and check-in regularly on progress.

Avoid hiding debts or spending from your partner. Secret debts strain relationships and make problems worse when uncovered. Have compassion for each other’s difficulties. With teamwork, honesty and commitment, you can overcome debt.

Saving for Shared Goals

Creating shared financial goals is an important part of managing money in a relationship. When couples align on both short-term and long-term goals, it gives them motivation to work together and save.

Some shared financial goals include:

  • Saving for a down payment on a home
  • Planning a dream vacation
  • Paying down student loans
  • Planning and investing for retirement
  • Starting a family

Once you’ve agreed on your shared goals, the next step is to automate your savings contributions whenever possible.

Setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to various savings accounts makes saving feel effortless. It also ensures you stay on track each month without having to think about it.

Make sure to track your progress frequently.

Celebrate when you hit savings milestones together. Seeing your shared goals become reality over time will keep you motivated to stay on course.

Some couples even like to create visual representations of their money goals, like progress charts or vision boards. The key is being open, honest, and intentional about aligning on financial goals and working together to achieve them. This joint effort and accountability can greatly benefit your relationship.

Having the “Money Talk”

Communication is key when it comes to finances in a relationship. Money can be an uncomfortable topic, but avoiding those conversations can breed resentment, mistrust, and bigger problems down the road.

It’s important for couples to discuss money regularly and keep communication open.

Have Regular Money Dates

Scheduling regular money talks with your partner is essential. Sit down together at least monthly to go over your budget and finances. Pick a relaxed time when you’re both calm and can have an open discussion without distractions.

Come prepared with any statements, bills, or financial info you need to cover. When talking, remain logical and avoid getting overly emotional.

Stick to facts and figures rather than generalizations. Listen to each other’s full perspective before responding.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Make sure both partners have a chance to express their thoughts and feelings on money matters.

Stay focused on issues and actions rather than criticizing your partner.

Use “I” statements like “I feel concerned when we overspend our budget” rather than accusatory “you” statements. Remind each other that you’re a team working toward shared goals.

With open communication, empathy, and compromise, couples can better navigate tricky money conversations. Regular financial talks build trust, alignment, and shared understanding over time.

Getting Help

If money issues are straining your relationship, it may be beneficial to seek outside help. Financial counselors can provide unbiased guidance to help you and your partner gain control of your finances.

Look for a reputable, certified financial counselor to assist you in developing a budget, reducing debt, and setting financial goals as a couple.

Reading relationship books focused on money can also give you valuable perspective.

My recommendation is the Book Thriving in Love and Money

This book is like a personal financial guide for couples, filled with practical advice, relatable stories, and actionable steps to create a lasting and financially harmonious relationship.

Attending a money management workshop is another way for couples to get help.

Local banks or credit unions often hold free workshops covering topics like budgeting, credit, investing, and more. You can find one near you here.

Going to one together demonstrates you’re both serious about improving your financial relationship. Look for upcoming workshops in your area that fit your needs.

Protecting Your Finances

When you commit to sharing a life with someone, you also commit to sharing financial responsibilities.

While combining finances is part of many committed relationships, it’s still important for each partner to maintain some financial independence and protections.

Here are some tips:

Keep Separate Emergency Savings Accounts: Even when you pool day-to-day finances, it’s wise for each partner to maintain a personal nest egg for emergencies.

Financial experts often recommend having 3-6 months of living expenses in emergency savings. Keep these funds in separate individual accounts. That way, if the relationship ends, each person has a financial cushion.

Review insurance policies and accounts: Take time to review all insurance policies, like health, life, home, and auto insurance, to make sure you both have adequate coverage.

Check the beneficiaries listed on policies and financial accounts like retirement plans and life insurance policies to make sure they align with your wishes.

Update Estate Plans: Create or update wills, trusts, and estate plans together. Make sure your intentions for distributing assets if one partner dies are clear. Consider meeting with an estate planning attorney to ensure your plans are legally sound.

Making Money Decisions Together

When couples don’t communicate about money or make financial decisions together, it can lead to conflict and resentment. To foster openness, both partners should be involved in money matters.

Consult each other on big purchases. Don’t make large purchases without talking to your partner first. Set a dollar amount over which you’ll consult each other before buying. Compromise if one partner really wants something and the other doesn’t.

Talk calmly, understand each other’s perspective, and find middle ground. Remember, money talks are the #1 cause of fights in relationships, so try to hear each other’s perspective and work through it calmly.

Don’t get defensive, even if you have different money styles. Focus on working together towards shared goals.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of having the much-needed “money talk” in your relationship.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no cost to you.

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