The money talk… why is it important? Having a healthy financial status as a couple is a big help to having a healthy relationship; Healthy doesn’t mean that you’ve got an unlimited about, it just means you aren’t worried where your next mortgage payment will come from. Why? Because you’re not worried about where your money is going to come from to pay all your bills. Money is a tricky topic to touch on, but oh is it necessary! So where do you start?
Sit Down And Chat
Sit down and actually talk about money. Talk about how much you make a year, talk about how much debt you have. All of it… NOT just what you thinks sounds good. If it is $5,000 or $50,000, say it. You can’t conquer the problem without knowing all the details.
Set a budget for the pair of you based on your monthly income. Set budgets for your groceries and other necessities. Talk about all your financial obligations in detail (debt, loans, etc…). Be sure that you talk about how you are going to conquer each obligation.
Keep yourselves calm and a non-accusatory tone when it comes to finding out the things you may not have wanted to know or hear. This lets your spouse know that you are supportive of them. Use our communication tips to help you engage with your spouse.
Separate Accounts vs. Joint Accounts
Once you have determined the nitty gritty, determine if it would be better for you to have joint accounts, separate accounts, or both. This key factor is based on what works best for you and your spouse. Personally, I find it better to have separate accounts, we just use them for different things. For example: One account is simply for bills and our other account is simply for savings and necessities (Groceries and gas). Figure out what works best for you both and you’ll find a happy medium.
Who Pays What
Determine who pays for what if you have separate accounts. Do you pay for the car payments and he takes over the car insurance payments? Really hashing out where your money goes allows you to save a bit easier. Maybe you have a joint account but you budget your money out accordingly from your combined months pay to allow for optimal savings! Knowing where your money goes shows exactly what you have left over and how much you can potentially save.
What Are Your Goals
Want to take a vacation to an exotic place? Replace your old beater car for something newer? Make your goals and discuss them together. Discussing your goals will not only help you both make them, but it will help you both work toward your goals and meet them quicker. Knowing that you have support on your goals is a big deal, especially if your spouse is there cheering you along (The reward isn’t bad either!)
Holidays and birthdays are a big deal. Although there is an element of surprise that comes with these days, be sure discuss what your spending habits would be if you were to get presents for those special days. Set a limit for what each of you would be willing to spend on each other and for other family members. If that is $25 per person, work with that… If it is $100 per person, work with it! (Remember you don’t have to spend all of your budget!).
Unite yourselves and make yourselves self aware to each other’s needs. You’ll be more likely to complete your goals and have less financial hard strain if you’re united with the subject than if you were divided.
Be sure to have this discussion sooner rather than later as this will save you a lot time and effort on fixing things that could have been solved easily. Coming to an agreement will not only take stress off of yourselves but off of your relationship as well. Communicate about all things with your spouse, think of them as your journal, and don’t forget the money talk!