Valentine’s day is fast approaching, and all you lovebirds and couples out there are sure to spend it with that special someone. However, the way you spend – and manage – your money all year long is important to consider in the maintenance of a healthy relationship. To put a spin on a popular phrase, “the couple that saves together, stays together.”
Living with a partner may introduce a whole new set of questions around financial responsibility and long-term planning, and it’s important to be comfortable with the fact of having to discuss your financial situation with your loved one if the two of you are serious about staying together and avoiding conflicts in the future over such key issues as expenses, debt and goal-setting. Here are some of the best pieces of advice we’ve heard for couples who want to stay on the path to personal – and financial – harmony.
Have “The Talk”
No, not that talk… You and your partner should know how much money is coming in every month, where it’s coming from, as well as the assets (savings, retirement accounts, property) that you hold separately and together. You also need to know how much you each owe separately, including student loan debt, credit card debt and car loans, and jointly, such as your mortgage.
Engage With Kindness
Make a safe, trusting space for any form of financial discussion: there’s no harm in having differences any of these categories. Set a date and plan ahead for “the talk” so that you’re both prepared with the right information and are in the right headspace. Once you’re done, plan to follow up on a regular basis. You can make this as fun and light, or as serious and calculative, as you like!
Set Your Goals Together
Saving money can be tough on your own: your partner can be your best asset when it comes time to motivate yourself toward better money management practices. Setting a goal with your partner – big or small – changes your saving dynamic so you’re pulling together to accomplish something meaningful. Whether it’s a recurring date night, a home improvement, or even a retirement plan, having goals you can work toward together will make a huge difference to your financial mindset.
Celebrate Your Differences
If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, create a budget that allows for both. If your partner is a bargain-hunter, put him in charge of the spending part of the budget, while you invest the savings. Work to each of your strengths, and don’t forget that if a financial issue is important to your partner, it’s important to your partnership.