One of the biggest challenges that couples face is figuring out their finances; how to make money, share it and save it. Money doesn’t have to be a sore topic with your spouse…with a bit of proactive conversation you will both be more at ease. Here are 10 things every couple should discuss about finances.
10 Things Every Couple Should Discuss About Finances
1. How much you each earn.
This seems like a simple place to start, but believe it or not, not all couples share their net pay with their spouses. Being open and honest about how much you earn (and depositing your check in a way you’ve both agreed upon) is the first step to creating trust in one another and your approach to finances.
2. Who is going to oversee your budget?
Once you have a budget up and running, it will need to be maintained regularly. While you both should have a say in how it’s run, only one of you should be “in charge” of keeping it up to date. By one of you taking the reins there is less room for calculation errors or need for explanation of the work that you’ve done.
3. How will you approach bills?
Just like the budget, it’s best when bills are paid by the same person from one month to the next. This allows for patterns in payments to be observed (and whether costs have changed.) It also ensures that no bill is overlooked and that late fees are avoided.
4. What system will you have for personal purchases?
We all have those personal purchases that we make. Maybe it’s that purse that you just couldn’t pass up or that new stereo he’s been thinking about buying. …or maybe you want to buy your spouse a gift. Regardless of the purchase, talk with your spouse about how you’ll buy things for yourself (or for one another). You may choose to open small checking accounts for each of you or to agree to a certain dollar amount each month that you’d like to stay under in personal spending.
5. How will you keep track of your spending?
One essential part of keeping on top of your finances is making sure that you’re tracking your spending habits. Deciding together on how you’re going to do that will make it much easier when it comes time to review the budget. Perhaps you have a common place to keep receipts or each have a checkbook that you review each week. Whatever you decide, do it together.
6. What are your priorities when shopping?
You must talk about how you shop and be on the same page. Is your focus convenience, saving money or top-quality? Each one comes with a different price tag and if he shops for bargains and she looks for top-quality, it may lead to resentment when it comes time to look at how much has been spent. If you have a smart phone or computer, consider using these 5 apps to save you money on your groceries. Also using printable coupons for shopping can help take some pressure off of the family grocery budget. And if you shop online, make sure you are getting paid cash back to do so. There are many programs that can save you money, here are some of our favorites to save us money when doing online shopping.
7. How will you manage the money you save?
Saving money is an important part of planning for your future. Talking about how you’ll manage your savings is important. Will you open a savings account or invest? Are there stock options through your employer? All are important things to consider when looking at how you’ll save your money.
8. Do you see retirement in your future?
Talk about how you’ll plan for retirement and at what age you hope to reach that milestone. Working together to make that a reality (for you both) will help you to feel that you’re playing on the same team. It may be beneficial to make an appointment with a financial professional to help guide you through that conversation.
9. How will you save for big purchases?
There are plenty of big purchases that couples encounter: car, house, college tuition…the list goes on and on. Discussing your approach to those expenses (well in advance) will help you to be prepared when you’re ready to make the purchase.
10. What are your beliefs on money you give the kids?
This is another area that, unless handled in the same way, can lead to resentment. You must discuss how you will give money to the kids. Will you provide an allowance (and, if so, for doing what chores)? Does your teen need to work for spending money, or will you take a different approach? Making sure that you both handle this in the same way will provide mixed messages to the kids and will keep you working together efficiently.
What are your best conversation tips for couples when discussing finances? We’d love to hear them!
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