Personal Finance Tips for Couples
Nothing goes together better than finances and couples… Okay, well maybe not. Finances can be a major cause of stress for many couples. Understanding your financial goals, spending habits, and stress triggers can help you keep your relationship stable as well as achieve your goals as a couple.
Managing multiple bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, student loans, and more can become challenging, but it is possible. Keep reading to learn ways you can lower financial stress in your relationship!
Understand Each Others Financial Goals
The chances are when you started your relationship your financial goals might have been different than where they are currently. You need to get on the same page with your partner about your goals and how you will achieve them.
If one of you wants something completely different than the other, it’s time to talk. If you both agree on your financial goals but disagree on how you will achieve them, it’s time to talk. Remember to keep the conversation light and realize that there is not a “right” or “wrong” answer, only different opinions.
Write your goals down
After discussing your financial goals, write them down! It can be used as a way to hold yourself accountable making it harder to stray from your goals.
Track your goals
Once you’ve written your goals down, it’s important to keep track of where you are and if you’re achieving them. If you are, great. If not, it’s time to make a change.
Understand Each Others Spending Habits
Does one of you go out to eat for lunch every day at work and the other is a daily brown bagger? This can be the cause of several arguments down the road so it’s best to get it sorted ahead of time. Understand how your partner spends his or her money and what they deem is appropriate to spend money on.
If one of you has different opinions on what’s appropriate to spend money on, you should address it earlier rather than later. The chances are if one of you thinks the purchase is unnecessary, it most likely is.
Understand your Income
Do you know how much money your partner brings in? If not, it’s time to find out. You’ll need to know this in order to create a budget together to help you reach your financial goals.
Write down all of your sources of income together so you can better understand how much money you are bringing in and prepare for tax season accordingly.
Understand Each Other’s Expenses
Does your partner have a large sum of student loans? You’ll both need to know all of your expenses in order to create your budget. Write down all of your outstanding debts as well as your monthly expenses to see where you stand. Have your partner do the same thing to get a tally of your debts and expenses as a couple.
Create a Budget
Budgeting as a couple poses a new set of challenges. You’ll need to now incorporate both your own and your partner’s income and expenses into a single budget.
If you aren’t sure of how to create a budget, be sure to read our post here before you get started!
If you decide to keep your finances separate, you should each create a budget for yourself and communicate your progress. Communication is key when it comes to relationships and that doesn’t stop short of your finances together. Keeping each other aware of where you stand can help you grow together as a couple.
Best Budgeting Apps for Couples
Because of many couples opting to have separate bank accounts, there are many apps that can help you keep up with your finances. Some of our favorites are:
Should you Have Multiple Bank Accounts?
Recently, it has become more common for couples to keep their finances separate. And that includes bank accounts and credit cards. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide if this is a good option for you. For some, this can bring logistical challenges of transferring money to and from different accounts making owning one bank account a breeze. But for some, the privacy of separate bank accounts is vital. That’s not to say you aren’t spending money on things you shouldn’t, but it’s nice to know your finances aren’t being micromanaged.
Another reason to have a joint bank account is that it is easier to track your finances and know where you stand at any given moment. Otherwise, you’ll have to view a few different accounts and add them together to get a snapshot of your finances.
If your goal is ease, it’s probably better for you to merge accounts and have a single bank account. If you need some space, separate accounts are probably the way to go.
Create a Plan to Boost Your Savings
Do you have an emergency fund established yet? If not, now is the time to start saving! You should plan to save enough to cover 3-6 months of living expenses. Now that you’re a couple, your expenses probably have gone up, so it’s important to start saving as soon as possible.
Get Ready for Retirement
Retirement will come sooner than you think. Just as with an emergency fund, you should start preparing immediately. The longer you have to prepare, the longer you can benefit from compound interest.
If your employer offers a 401k match, take advantage of it! It is tax-free, free money that goes toward your future. You can read more ways to save for retirement here!
Know Your Future Wants and Needs
Do you plan on having children one day or moving into a larger home? You should try to plan as much as possible for these events so that when the time comes you won’t have to scramble for cash.
Your finances will change as a couple. Managing multiple bank accounts, credit cards, expenses, and debts can be a large challenge to tackle but is vital to your financial success as a couple. You should get on the same page about your income, expenses, and outstanding debts together and plan accordingly to reach your financial goals. Maintaining an emergency fund and preparing for retirement are necessities for your future, so the time to start saving is now!
Relationships and finances can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Communicate effectively and frequently to manage your finances as a couple and keep the arguments to a minimum.
What techniques have helped your finances as a couple? Comment below!