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August 14, 2018 | Posted in:

6 Ways Couples Can Better Manage Money as a Team

Love is in the air as we approach another summer wedding season. Or, it is as long as you aren’t arguing over money with your special someone.

Couples consistently report finances as the leading cause of stress in their relationship. However, money is constantly ranked as one of the most uncomfortable topics to discuss.

Here are a few tips to avoid conflict over finances with your long-term partner or spouse:

1. Be transparent.

Be honest with each other about your financial status. As you enter a committed relationship, each partner should learn about the status of the other person’s debts, income and assets. Any surprises down the road may feel like dishonesty and lead to conflict. If you don’t share a joint bank account, consider using an app that will help encourage transparency.

2. Discuss future plans often.

The closer you are with your partner, the more you’ll want to know about his or her future plans and their money goals. Kids, planned career changes, world travel, hobbies, retirement expectations – all of these will depend upon money and shared resources. So, discuss these plans and create the financial roadmap to go with them. Remember that people in a long-term marriage may be caught unaware if they haven’t talked about the future and find out their spouse’s priorities have changed over time.

3. Know your comfort levels.

As you discuss your future plans, bring up hypotheticals:

  • How much debt is too much?
  • What level of spending versus savings is acceptable?
  • How much would you spend on a car, home or vacation?
  • If you inherited $100,000 from a relative, what would you do?

You may be surprised to learn that your assumptions about these things fall outside your partner’s comfort zone.

4. Divide responsibilities; combine forces.

Try to divide financial tasks such as paying certain bills, updating a budget, contributing to savings and making appointments with tax and financial advisors. Then periodically trade responsibilities over time. Even if one person tends to be better at numbers, it’s best to have both members participating. By having a hand in budgeting, planning and spending decisions, you will be constantly reminded how what you are doing financially contributes to the strength of your relationship.

5. Learn to love compromise.

No two people have the same priorities or personalities, so differences of opinion are going to happen. One person may want to spend, while the other wants to save. Vacation may be on your spouse’s mind, while you want to put money aside for a new car. By acknowledging these differences of opinion will happen, you’ll be less frustrated when they do. Treat any problems as opportunities to negotiate and compromise. Instead of looking at the outcome as “I didn’t get everything I wanted to do,” think of it as “I sacrificed some of what I wanted out of love for my partner and he/she did the same for me.”

 

6. Plan for the worst.

“Not every marriage works out. Having a clear understanding of what goes to who prior to the end of the marriage can make the process less costly. At the same time, if one person is the primary source of income it can be helpful to understand how to provide support post-divorce. In some instances, clients have spent their savings on legal and accounting costs to come to an agreement only to be left with a portion of what was being fought over.” – Chris Cicalese, CPA

 

Ready to formalize a financial plan for your future? Contact Alloy Silverstein for an introductory meeting.

The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance. For more information or for assistance with any of your tax or business concerns, contact our office at 856.667.4100.

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