Are you as a couple struggling to keep all the monetary balls in the air? Do you fail at setting some funds aside over and over again? Admittedly, borrowing money and being on the negative side of the balance to stay afloat is a common sight today.
Poor money management skills can take you to the verge of survival. Not bonding with your spouse, lying, and overspending, have the same effect as well. Luckily, there’s hope to prevent this from happening if you act as a team and share responsibilities wisely. Follow our steps below to build trust and create a solid financial strategy.
Table of Contents
- 1 Money Management Steps For Couples
- 1.1 Discuss Your Finances
- 1.2 Determine Common Goals
- 1.3 Create A Budget Together
- 1.4 Talk About What Bank Account Type Is Best For You
- 1.5 Build An Emergency Fund
- 1.6 Eliminate Debt
- 1.7 Save For Retirement
- 1.8 Track Your Budget
- 1.9 Have Money Meetings
- 1.10 Share Responsibilities When Paying Bills And Creating Budgets
- 2 Other Money Management Tips
- 3 Final Thoughts
- 5 FAQs
Money Management Steps For Couples
Even as a single person, financial management can be a daunting task. When it comes to incorporating your partner’s finances in the full picture, it can get overwhelming. Don’t expect to put everything in perfect order from the onset. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a sound money-saving strategy. Follow our exhaustive guide on how to reach savvy monetary decisions and stick to them as a team.
Discuss Your Finances
Speaking openly about money issues is the key to resolving them. Thus, it’s crucial to start discussing before getting married or after some time being together. Don’t be afraid to ask about personal accounts and how much debt your spouse has accrued. Above all, you must decide together who and how any setbacks will get handled.
After you put all information on the table, decide on a strategy to further manage your finances. Revealing all sources of income and obligations will boost your mutual trust, and you can work efficiently as a team. Plus, you’ll be aware of any future expectations and won’t argue over money.
For example, you can agree that both of you will discuss purchasing any item over $100. Or that you’re going to choose more expensive furniture items and gifts together. Deciding up-front what you can or can’t afford is essential to avoid further misunderstandings and rows.
Determine Common Goals
Striving towards goals contemplated together is a strong incentive for building a solid financial base for the future. Therefore, discuss both short and long-term goals in detail and write them down. These may include your retirement plans, real estate investments, traveling, education, etc. Once you pin financial targets down on paper, revise them periodically.
One barrier to defining and sticking to projected spending is when you and your partner don’t share the same ideas. As a result, it’s best to meet halfway and find meaningful ways to allocate your funds. When goals are mutual, you have stronger urges to work on their achievement.
Create A Budget Together
Did you overspend the last month because you hadn’t set limits on your spending? Or did you get mad at your partner because he splashed out on a new gadget? Wasting valuable assets won’t happen if you carefully draw up a budget and stick to it.
Set clear restrictions on how much you can spend during the particular month and on what. The 50/30/20 rule is a good starter, but you can employ some more complex strategies further on. Your budget will always be a work in progress, so any adjustments along the way can only improve it. Don’t refrain from varying budget items as the years go by since family needs also change with the time.
Going a bit over the projected budget from time to time is not the end of the world, for sure. Emergencies may strike at any time, so it’s likely that at a certain point, you’ll have to cross the spending line. Anyways, make sure this doesn’t happen very often, at least not for non-essential items.
Talk About What Bank Account Type Is Best For You
In reality, having a joint bank account has both its upsides and downsides. Keeping individual accounts after you get married is not always a straightforward business, too. Therefore, sometimes it’s best to have them both.
If you decide to open an account together, ensure it’s a free checking one to avoid any burdening fees. Such an account might simplify your finances and build trust, but it can also make you excessively controllable. However, if the disparity in income is evident, a joint account might be preferable.
Conversely, other partners vouch for more independence in their relationship. On the one hand, this gives spouses protection if the marriage goes in the wrong direction. Or if the other spouse is misusing the money earned as a couple. On the other hand, separate accounts allow for hiding trivial purchases or bad spending habits. Whatever your final verdict on this matter, make sure it’s comfortable and convenient for both of you.
Build An Emergency Fund
Accepting things as they are is a crucial virtue of any long-lasting relationship. In short, financially wise couples are realistic about the future and know that it can be uncertain and rough. To avoid financial pitfalls and always be prepared for the worst, smart pairs set up an emergency fund. They understand that peace of mind in any stage of life is a valuable thing.
Emergency money will come particularly handy in unexpected events such as job loss, family illness, home repairs, or natural disasters. Even worse, anyone can face the distress of a deceased partner. Undoubtedly, that grief can get relieved with the help of saved money. In case there is no need to use the funds, you’ll have extra retirement padding to fall back on.
Consider building up an emergency fund that can cover at least six months of no income. Keep the money somewhere safe, but easily accessible. To do so, take banks into account as you can also earn a little interest on the amount.
Alternatively, you can always go for emergency loans. These, however, often have high APR, and you must pay them back in full. An emergency fund is your money waiting to assist you. So, it’s definitely the smarter option.
<Caption: Financial planning for couples isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. If you dedicate enough time and effort, you will see your bank account grow in no time.>
Being up to your ears in debt doesn’t promise a bright, moneywise future. What we recommend is to get out and stay out of debt as soon as possible. Commence your money-making strategy by eradicating any debt you might have accrued by drafting a specific plan. This plan must contain major cornerstones that establish how and when you’re planning to get out of debt.
Start by identifying all debts and listing them by priority. Pay off bad debts such as credit cards, auto, and consumer loan debts first as they entail the highest interest rates. Then, eliminate good debts such as student, mortgage, and business loan debts that are considered investments in your future as a couple.
One step to exclude willpower from paying off debt is to automate the payments. Let’s face it, settling debts is not always straightforward, and it requires a lot of sacrifices. However, leading a debt-free life is not only healthy for your marriage, but it’s a giant step towards substantial savings.
Save For Retirement
Old age and rainy days are not something that should horrify you. Thinking ahead in terms of money is a prudent strategy that every couple should pursue. Actually, the sooner you realize this and start saving, the happier and more secure you’ll be in your retirement days.
Start by opening a 401(k) account since it has a lower tax rate, and your employer can match whatever you contribute. Doubling retirement savings is not that bad when you provide as much as you can afford, right? We also suggest you do the math for your retirement plan as it can never be joint. Make sure you both have a workplace 401(k) plan or save enough for two out of your total household earnings.
Moreover, you can open an IRA and put the maximum amount you can set aside each year. Don’t worry if you can’t max out the accounts, because even $50 in savings each month is beneficial in the long run. Also, pay attention to any fees you might be paying for servicing your accounts.
The strategies mentioned above are among the best early retirement tips, too. So, they can lead to financial independence much earlier than you initially hoped for.
Track Your Budget
Not knowing where your monthly income is going makes it impossible to save at all. Therefore, start keeping track of all expenses for the current month. Use simple online tools and apps to calculate the approximate amounts spent on essentials, wants, and savings. Your budgeting calculator should comprise about 50% of all income for essentials, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings.
Of course, don’t take such calculations for granted since they only serve as a benchmark. In some months, you can overspend in one of the categories, and compensate with the others accordingly. Having a spending plan can help you increase the savings by identifying and eliminating impulse and frivolous spending.
Another practical idea to track your expenses is to make use of the so-called envelope budgeting system. Meaning, you should split the money in different envelopes depending on their purpose, such as bills, food, clothing, vacation, etc. Once an envelope gets empty, you have to stop spending in that particular category.
Have Money Meetings
It might sound pretentious and irrelevant, but having money meetings at least twice a month can help you stay on track. Put upcoming significant expenses, bill payments, holidays, as well as home and car maintenance on the meeting agenda.
Don’t forget to discuss fresh options to save cash. What about trying those excellent strategies for lowering your electric bill? Check if it makes sense for you as a couple to ditch cable TV and get a cheaper option. Try to plan what to choose when discussing fast food vs. home-cooked meals. Each of these comes with benefits to your budget, plus they aren’t the only strategies you can try.
Discuss any essential money matters or issues, as well as your progress towards any financial targets set. Once you reach a goal, celebrate and move on to the next aim. Always ensure your goals are measurable, specific, and realistic.
Apart from keeping up with any income and expenses for the period, these business meetings can also strengthen your marriage. Partners that know their financial standing have a better understanding at home. Above all, dedicating time to talk helps them remain calm and confident that they can deal with any future hindrances.
Before anything else, be honest about what you like doing and what you’re good at and then divide the financial tasks. Further on, create a detailed plan about who pays the bills, who makes investment decisions, who purchases what, etc. Though you might not be keen on some tasks, you’ll understand each other better by switching the obligations from time to time. Even more, experiment and try various options to identify which combinations run smoothly for your budget.
The worst thing anyone can do is carry the ball for the couple. Imagine the confusion and cluelessness of the other half if something happens to the ‘financial’ spouse. Inevitably, debt will accumulate, bills will get unpaid, and your financial position will deteriorate. Thus, make sure both of you are familiar with the family budget and bear equal responsibility for managing it.
Other Money Management Tips
It’s not uncommon for newlyweds to find it challenging to cope with finances at the onset. Therefore, we decided to equip you with additional hacks on how to keep financial assets under control. Undoubtedly, acting as a team and developing a robust marital foundation will help you withstand any barrier life may throw at you.
Deal With Sensitive Topics With Love
Yelling at each other at the spur of the moment is out of option when it comes to sensitive matters. Let’s face it, there will be chaotic moments, and if you are short-tempered, the relationship will suffer. So, whenever you’re in front of a touchy subject related to money, resolve it with care and understanding.
For instance, if your spouse doesn’t stay within the projected budget limits, don’t start yelling or accusing. Discuss the issue calmly and be supportive. After all, you’re a team for a lifetime and must work on improving any imperfections. What you must do is identify ways to get back on budget.
Pointing the finger is the easiest thing to do in times of crisis, but the least desired, too. Helping your other half build better habits might be exhaustive, but it always pays off in the end. Even the worst money-spenders will be eager and dedicated to change their old ways if they realize it’s for the best.
What if you’re always fighting and failing at your money goals? Well, in that case, you may soon need to think about how to save money in a divorce instead.
Work As A Team
Successful money management has several pillars to rely on, among which common goals, matching expectations, open communication, and sharing strengths. Any couple who strives to attain these key facets has vast opportunities to operate finances as a team efficiently.
Admittedly, some basic rules can boost your money-saving strategy. The underlying premise is to reach an agreement on the amount of money spent on various purchases each month. Then, you must give your partner full liberty to spend the allocated funds on whatever they consider necessary. Once anyone exceeds the boundary, all further purchases must be agreed mutually or postponed.
Why this approach always works for couples is the freedom to spend but within projected limits. After some time, each spouse will learn to respect the boundaries and support the final objective, which is financial stability. Above all, purchasing without dread or grumbles is what makes both partners contribute towards strengthening the family budget.
Learn From Each Other
Frequently, you can get surprised about how much your beloved one knows about specific monetary aspects that you’re not even aware of. So, don’t act as if you’re the only one experienced with finances. You might have discipline in grocery buying, for instance, but that doesn’t mean you are good at negotiating. The key is to recompense each other with the money-managing skills you possess!
In reality, both of you will have different strategies to cope with money and set aside. Why not combine and use all these methods to enlarge your savings? If your spouse knows a lot about investments, be encouraging, and learn some hacks for the future. Conversely, if you’re super successful at spotting sales, make use of that and contribute to your family budget in your way.
Figure Out The Right Risk Level As A Couple
Assessing the level of risk, you can take on as a burden is not an easy path to take. All investments and spending entail particular risks, and your habits in this regard may differ from those of your partner. Meaning, you might be more risk-averse, while your other half may be more open to jumping into less secure transactions and purchases.
For example, you might want to invest your retirement savings into a unique business idea. Your spouse might not be so reluctant to risk everything on one card only. Identify a middle ground when it comes to risk because either of you must renounce a fraction of their comfort zone.
The same applies to the diversification of your investment decisions. One may wish to pursue equities in companies while the other might plan to nail financial security with real estate and art. Honestly, any investing idea is fabulous as long as you reach an agreement on the matter and support each other.
Be Honest And Trust Each Other
Honesty is the best policy for sure is an old but gold rule for any couple. Money management in your marriage is no exception. Wrong choices will happen, impulse purchases will take place, but whatever comes in your ways, say it out loud. Your partner can be upset, but if you own up, your mutual trust will only grow stronger. Lying for even the smallest monetary issues can endanger your life together and ruin what you’ve been building for years.
Moreover, learn to trust your spouse and avoid unbearable prying. Discussing every purchase your other half makes and checking your accounts every day is an entirely wrong idea. Also, don’t ask for a detailed explanation of every single dollar earned. Have confidence and don’t consider yourself liable for any expense or income made. Learn how to share both obligations and responsibilities!
The truth is that money and marriage require constant work, understanding, and compromises. Money management can be tricky if you fail to define common goals and a far-fetching financial plan. We highly encourage you to find ways and deal with budgeting, investing, and spending as early in your relationship as possible.
Moreover, we are looking forward to your money-saving ideas in the comment box below. If you haven’t been following us on social media, make sure you click follow for more couple saving hacks. Of course, don’t forget to subscribe to our ProMoneySavings Newsletter if you haven’t already.
How do most couples manage money?
The golden rule is to speak openly about any debts you have and discuss your financial situation in-depth. Then, you must set shared goals you’re aiming to achieve together. Most experts suggest that opening a joint account and having a separate one is a wise approach to monetary stability. Savvy partners always divide their financial responsibilities and equally contribute to savings.
How do you handle finances in a relationship?
Finances can ruin any relationship if not managed properly, and when you avoid discussing money hardships. Therefore, think twice before reaching any decision related to debt or joint accounts. For instance, if one partner has a poor credit score and shares an account, this can influence the other spouse’s satisfactory score. Make sure you manage money equally and divide any payments for bills, loans, and rent. Finally, know your spending limits and don’t give up the complete financial independence.
How do couples share money?
Sharing money in a relationship isn’t always easy, and the 50/50 rule may not be the best approach by default. Meaning, it might be better if you make it clear who pays for what. Having a joint account for paying bills, vacations, and entertainment is one of the viable ways to retain your financial independence. Of course, it’s ideal if you can split recurring expenses in half, but this depends on your income. Making a family business plan upfront and regularly revising it will help you steer away from potential money arguments and barriers.
Can money ruin a relationship?
Financial infidelity or dishonesty is among the top reasons that can destroy any relationship. In short, hiding assets, lying about purchases, or gambling issues are detrimental to any personal bond. Also, people who are too controlling and judgmental about their spouses’ income and spending are more prone to ruin their marriage. Moreover, if you avoid talking about money regularly and honestly, and refuse to compromise, this is a sure sign of downfall. Finally, if you want to build a sound and stable relationship, set joint financial goals and carry forward with them.