Simple Tips to Help Manage A Relationship and Money
Relationships and money seem to mix like oil and water, but there are ways to make your finances effortless when dealing with your partner. Our guide to Marriage and Money will give you some simple tips to keep the relationship happy, healthy, and wealthy.
Ashley and I don’t commingle money at this moment, or let me rephrase that, we share one investment account. We have been together for almost 3 years and as I write this, today is the anniversary of the day we met.
Sometimes falling in love can be a wild experience and it happens faster than you expect. After meeting, we ended living together within 4 months! This wasn’t born out of necessity, we just really didn’t want to be apart.
With the speed at which we started living together, we didn’t have time to plan finances in advance. Our relationship wasn’t about money, or so we thought.
It turns out that everything is about money. Our lives revolve around money, but without a clear plan on what to do, we struggled to find a system that works.
Even to this day, we still contemplate doing things very differently. That is where these tips and this post comes from.
As much as our love burns for one another, we are different when it comes to money.
Let me explain.
How Relationships and Money Fit Together
Marriage and money can be broken down into 3 different situations:
- No combined finances – This would be separate checking accounts, separate savings accounts and all individual bills are kept separate. This includes credit cards and car payments. Ashley and I are currently doing it this way.
- Some combined finances – You and your love muffin may have a joint account or two, or share a credit card, but not everything is joint. You still manage some individual finances separately.
- All finances combined – Of course this section will be a household that combines all incoming and outgoing streams of money. Usually there will be a primary “Money Handler” that curates and pays the bills.
There is no right or wrong in any of these scenarios. They all are viable strategies to managing money in relationships.
The real question is whether it works for you and your teammate, or do you need to make a transition to a different style.
First, you need to analyze what is working and what isn’t.
- Is your debt under control?
- Is one partner better at managing money than the other?
- Would you or your dream person prefer not to handle finances?
- Would it benefit your relationship to combine all your finances?
We can’t answer these questions for you, but they will get you started on the path of Communication, which is the only path to creating a peaceful money situation.
Tips to Make Money Less of an Issue
You’re thinking to yourself, “but we do communicate”, and that may be true, but do solutions come from that communication or do arguments originate?
That is one of the main issues that Ashley and I have is agreeing on where money should go.
I don’t mean which bills to pay, I mean where excess after bill money should go.
You can see where the friction comes from.
By keeping our finances separate, we avoid the constant struggle of where money should go.
This is where you find solutions to your money quandary.
Here are some tips to help you communicate to a solution.
- Talk about your goals as a couple, 1 year, 2 years, 5, 10, etc.
- Talk about what priorities you both have. Is debt a priority to pay off, or is saving for another goal the priority?
- Let your Honey explain their side of the equation, and then you find a way to intermingle your strategies.
- Put this stuff on paper and look at how the numbers work. Sometimes that can change a mind or two into a different strategy.
Once you and your Pookie have discussed all of the options, you can determine the right course of action for your situation.
Don’t get discouraged if they don’t agree with all of your points, and don’t let friction get in the way of a working money plan.
Let Love Come First
Money is something we all need to manage in our own personal way, whether it is completely hands off, or dominating every penny into submission.
We didn’t fall in love with our lovers’ money, we fell in love with a real live human. As with any pairing of two minds, we have to find a common ground that will allow for progress.
Love by itself is complicated, but when you combine money and marriage, it is a whole new can of worms. The key is to find what works and stick with it, but make sure you revisit the topic every so often.
Goals can change and priorities most definitely can change. Imagine when we start throwing kids into the mix!
We want all the friction of managing finances with our love to get easier, but finances are a top reason why couples fight. Luckily, there are ways to combat the issue, and to find common ground from which to collaborate.
Once you have determined how the finances are currently being handled, you can look to solve each issue as they arise.
You can find that common ground by communicating and actually putting into practice good habits of goal setting and putting it all on paper.
Don’t ever let money come between you, it is only a tool that facilitates a way of life.
Put your spouse’s needs at the forefront and make your needs fit with theirs.
How do you handle the finances in your home? Is there ever friction on what comes next?
This is a topic we will explore deeper in future posts, but hopefully you find some actionable advice that you can share with your love doodle.