The more serious your relationship, the more serious your financial discussions may become. That’s why it’s important to have mutual financial disclosure with your partner before things move too fast. You don’t want to suffer financial infidelity.
The following strategies have not only helped me overcome my financial struggles with my previous partner but helped my clients overcome theirs. Here are some guidelines.
1. Accept Change
Change can be difficult for some. However, in a relationship, it is important to accept change in all aspects, especially when it comes to your finances. You might have to change your ways if you are used to budgeting a certain way or only going grocery shopping once a month. Now that you’re serious with your partner, you may be splitting up your finances and agreeing on what to buy and what not to buy. Focus on compromising and moving forward, rather than getting stuck arguing over money.
2. Honesty & Trust
When it comes to a relationship, you want to be able to trust your partner. Honesty should be a big part of your relationship when joining accounts with your partner or relying on them to pay specific bills on time. You don’t want to fall into debt if your partner decides to go off spending enormous amounts of money without your knowing about it. Try to always be on the same page, as this will help you avoid becoming a victim of financial infidelity.
3. Establish & Combine Goals
The goals you set for yourself (short and long term) should also fall in the same line as your finances. You may want to share your goals with your partner and even create goals together. It can be fun setting goals and then working them into your budget with your partner. Once you have enough money, taking, say, a tropical vacation together can be very rewarding.
4. Create a Joint Spending Plan
As you plan your future together, you may want to create a joint spending plan. Major purchases may be “joint purchases,” such as a house, car or furniture. If you decide to open any joint credit card accounts or take on your partner’s existing debt, both of you will be on the hook for any expenses. Be aware of the responsibilities you are taking on as a “joint owner” and decide whether it is one you can financially afford.
5. Devise a Compatible Budget
You may want to create a budget together that lists your essentials and nonessentials, as well as your outside expenses. This includes: rent, utilities, food, entertainment expenses, phone, date night, babysitting, etc. As a couple, you should try to have a talk on what items are truly important, as well as items you can live without. You will be surprised at how much money you can save each month by following a budget. If you trim the “fat” on some of your expenses or eliminate them, then you are in the road to saving financially as a couple.
[Editor’s Note: Drafting a budget is a savvy way to take charge of your finances and ensure that you meet your goals. You can see how your spending behaviors are affecting your credit by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.]