Financial Tips For Couples
Being engaged is such an exciting time but it can also be super stressful! From planning a wedding, getting to know new family, and especially thinking about finances. Money is a very important topic and effective communication around finances is essential. Here are my top 10 tips to ensure you and your S.O are off to a strong start!
1. Start the conversation early — I know it’s uncomfortable and awkward but have the money talk as early as you can. Be supportive and honest with each other to understand all dynamics of money – ask questions about how you grew up with money, how do you currently manage money, and how you currently stand financially.
2. Set short and long term goals — discuss what you both want to achieve in the short and long term – both together as a couple and individually and support each other in those goals. Make sure these goals are specific, actionable, and time-specific. For example, a shared goal may be to save $5,000 for a trip to Greece in June 2019. Then you’ll know how much you’ll need to save each month to reach that goal.
3. Set up money dates — have this monthly and talk all things money. How did the month go financially – are both of you still tracking towards your goals, what are the areas both of you need to work on? Make these money dates fun! Find a new spot to go to, local bar, cook dinner together at home and then discuss – whatever works for you but make sure you stay consistent with these discussions.
4. Create shared and separate savings accounts — it’s important to have both. Use your joint account for all shared expenses that impact both of you (i.e. rent, utilities, groceries, date nights, etc). It’s also important to keep your own personal account so you can spend on things that you won’t feel guilty for and that doesn’t impact your S.O.
5. Plan to have a joint account and determine the fair contribution amount — as both of your incomes may vary, decide how much both of you want to contribute to this each month and don’t feel guilty if it’s not an even split. Both of you will contribute in different ways in your marriage so it’s ok if it’s not a 50-50 split in the beginning.
6. Automate savings and joint account contributions — once you’ve set your goals and contributions amounts, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to contribute to those accounts so automate those transfers. It’s so important to do this so you can make sure it’s a priority and you won’t be tempted to spend it on something else.
7. Create a plan to pay off debt — If one or both of you carry debt, make a plan to start paying that off. List out all your debt with the balance outstanding and the interest rate and focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Make sure you also consistently make payments on all of your debt (even if it’s the minimum amount).
8. Don’t take out a loan to pay for your wedding — having a dream wedding is important but so is making sure you are in a financially strong position as you enter marriage and avoid taking out a loan. If you can’t pay for your wedding in full, ask for help from family members, find ways to be more cost effective with your wedding, or cut some of your spending so you can save more money each month.
9. Look at opening a shared credit card that offers rewards/points — as you sign up for a joint credit card, look at cards with great benefits and/or travel rewards. This will a nice benefit as both of you travel in the future!
10. Hire a money coach — having the money talk and being consistent can be difficult especially if you and your S.O. have very different views and habits with money so invest in a money coach. A money coach will be able to help manage your budgets, ensure both of you are working towards your goals, and ensure communication around money is strong between both of you.
To make it even easier, I’ve created a money guide that will help you and your S.O. walk through how to have an efficient and productive money conversation.