It’s the season of love, but before couples start discussing one ‘M’ word – Marriage – they should spend some time talking about another ‘M’ word – Money. After all, taking the next step in a relationship is not only a melding of hearts, but also a melding of finances.
An important component of any romantic relationship is solid financial footing. Consider the following tips as a way to achieve financial intimacy:
Be mine, or yours? Will you and your spouse-to-be keep finances separated or combine them? Consider individual money styles, having one joint savings account and then separate accounts that you can use how you’d like. Making these financial decisions together will help you find a system that works for you.
Love’s Cost. Couples that tackle money problems together and take mutual responsibility for solving them will inevitably find that their overall relationships are better for it, so calculate your monthly costs and discuss how bills will be paid. Both may contribute to the bill payment, but determine who will physically write the check to pay the bills, monitor the investments, and take care of the taxes. Consider setting a date every month to review and discuss finances with each other.
Sharing. It’s important that spouse’s are aware of the others’ credit situation. Marrying a person with bad credit will not drag down your stellar record. However, your other half’s credit will be factored in when you are both applying for the financing of big-ticket items like a home. Knowing ahead of time will help you to plan more strategically.
Cupid’s Arrow. Couples should develop a plan to shoot down existing debt, starting with balances that carry the highest interest rates. Think twice before every purchase, and discuss if you really need the item or if the money would be better off in savings. Hopefully you’ll be able to eliminate frivolous spending while keeping your priorities top of mind.
Sweet Savings. Saving as a couple fosters teamwork and is essential in times of financial hardship. Realistically decide how much you want to save as a couple and do it automatically from your paychecks. If you need help or guidance, visit you bank’s web site and use the free tools and calculators they offer to help you determine – then achieve – your savings goals.