Love and money can work extremely well together or it can be one of the most difficult areas to manage in a relationship. When it comes to committing to a partner in marriage or moving in together, couples often tend to overlook the partnership extending into their money. They fail to discuss current finances, financial philosophies, and the debt that they may be carrying. It is important to lay out the financial groundwork in order to have a clear understanding of how to manage debt without negatively impacting the health of your relationship.
Top 10 Tips to Build Harmony Between Love and Money
- Decide whether to combine or not combine finances. What will be paid individually and what bills could be paid from a joint account?
- Discuss both of your spending habits and values. Are there problem areas one of you needs to work on? Do you have the same goals? Communication is key.
- Decide who will manage which financial responsibilities. Between the mortgage, cell phone bill, and utilities, there could be many payments that need to be accounted for. Who will take care of what? Is either of you a master at Excel spreadsheets?
- Create a budget together. A combined budget will be necessary to keep track of your spending. This may be your foundation for the next big step in your relationship: tackling debt.
- Discuss both of your debts. This includes any student loans or credit card debt you may have carried into the partnership. It’s important to be honest up front so the best solution can be found as quickly as possible.
- Set your future financial goals. Future plans need to be shared and included in a financial plan. What are your career aspirations? Do you want to start a family? Where do you want to live? These are all questions that impact your relationship and your financial decisions.
- Figure out if you will open joint accounts. Whether you have one joint account, separate accounts or a combination, transparency is key.
- Discuss any major purchases. Depending on the budget, many couples discuss a purchase that is anything more than $200.
- Review your finances monthly. Variables in life change every so often, it’s important to have your budget reflect those changes.
- Agree on your do’s & don’t s. Agree when you want to eat out, budgets for gifting for special occasions, and other spending decisions. It’s good to have generally agreed upon spending guidelines. This helps you avoid conflicts about money.
Once you agree on the basics, then choose the bigger battles to overcome as a couple, such as debt. If you both have significant debt that was brought into the mix, make sure you discuss and agree on your next steps. You might want to consult reputable debt relief agency, such as American Consumer Credit Counseling, and enroll in a debt reduction program to overcome your financial struggles to ensure harmony between your love and money.
Contact a certified credit counselor at American Consumer Credit Counseling at 800-769-3571 today!