This should be the start of a solid and healthy financial relationship. The following tips should help ensure that money doesn’t become a source of disagreement, but rather a tool to build your future together.
Talk about your financial situation. This is not a competition about who owns or earns more, but an honest and unemotional conversation about your financial responsibilities. This includes discussing the assets and debts you will each bring into the relationship.
Assess your credit profiles to see how you can help each other to improve it. Debt can easily cause unnecessary strain, especially if one partner isn’t aware of it. Research* has found that 38% of couples were only somewhat aware or not at all aware of their partner’s debts. Rather build a financially solid and honest relationship from the start.
Discuss how your parents handled money
Parents often share valuable money lessons with their kids, but some parents don’t. Since it’s important to know where each person in a relationship is coming from, partners should share what their parents taught them about money. It helps you to understand each other’s behaviour around finances. You both can learn from your parents’ mistakes and their successes.
Set up a monthly budget review
Taking time each month to review your budget together can encourage cooperation. Share your concerns if you worry about how the other person manages the budget. Ask yourselves questions, like the following:
- Are we sticking to our budget?
- Are both of our needs met?
- How can we get even more out of our budget?
If you struggle to discuss this without getting into each others hair, ask a knowledgeable 3rd party such as a financial adviser, to help you create a budget and to give you tips on how to manage it together.
Create an entertainment budget
Spending money on fun and unnecessary things can be a major source of conflict in relationships. Agree on a set amount each month that each of you can spend, no questions asked. This amount will depend on how much money is left after all your important expenses are covered.
Save as a team
Many companies offer discounts when you buy products and services as a couple. For instance, medical aid is usually cheaper when there is a main member and dependent, compared to each person being the main member on their own plan. You also don’t need 2 TV licence accounts – cancel one. If you’re sharing each other’s space, you may as well work as a team.
Source: * TD Ameritrade