Money problems causes relationship problems. Relationship problems lead to money problems. As both a bankruptcy and family law attorney, I understand firsthand how real these problems are and how intertwined love and money issues can be. Here are the top 3 money tips couples should focus on to keep their finances strong and their marriage even stronger.
- Understand each other’s money habits. Are you the spender? Are both of you thrifty? How do you feel about credit card debt? Do you prefer to be a homeowner or a renter? Do you plan to lease cars or purchase? Do you finance or pay for bigger items in full? Understanding how the other person spends (and saves) is important. It can lead to working together effectively not only on financial decisions but other decisions as well.
- Have the money discussion and include responsibilities. Are you going to have joint bank accounts? Are you going to keep separate savings accounts? Who is going to create the budget? Who will set the auto-bill pay? Who will confirm the bills are paid? Do both of you understand your finances? Having a full understanding of all of your finances will lead to more cooperation on money matters.
- Create your goals together. Not only is it important to have similar goals, it is important to create those goals together. Love to travel? Create a dream list of your top 3, 5, or 10 trips. Discuss how long your trip(s) should be? Where will you save money to make that goal come true? Where do you want to splurge while on vacation? What are your financial goals for the end of the year? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you want to be debt-free in 10 years? What is that plan?
You should also consider compromise if your spending and saving styles don’t match. Agree to save $100 every month and then splurge on something together – go out to a fancy dinner, take a cooking class, or rent a cabana at the beach. Have fun and enjoy your savings and splurges together.