“Til death do we split the check”
From combing finances prematurely to indefinitely splitting the check – we walk you through a healthy way of navigating finances as a couple. Maintaining what is “Yours” and what is “Mine” until it becomes “Ours”.
Being honest with yourself and your significant other about finances is difficult. It can make you feel anxious and vulnerable in many ways. However, consistent and honest conversations about your financial life is important for any healthy romantic relationship. Whether you have been together for 20 days or 20 years, communicating about your financial circumstances, boundaries and goals is a must.
Send the Right Signals
Believe it or not, the financial conversation in a relationship starts on the very first date. Starting with the car you drive, the clothes you wear and the restaurants you choose.
All of this information is perceived as a reflection of your wealth. While we all want to impress and give our love interest a reason to pursue the relationship, it is important to be genuine and ensure that expectations for the future are based in reality. But you can still put your best foot forward! Dress to impress and enjoy a nice night out while also practicing respect for yourself by setting and keeping boundaries that are within your means.
This approach will ensure that you continue making progress toward your financial goals which is an important quality in a life long partner.
Have Regular Money Conversations
As a relationship starts to get more serious, you should start building the habit of having conversations about finances. The reason is simple – navigating finances as a couple is impossible if you do not actually about finances.
Consistent financial and legal advice from experts is to keep financial accounts separate up until marriage, and we completely agree. However, while keeping your money separate, it is still important to discuss your future together. Important topics to cover include debt obligations and plans for the future. Once you know where you both stand, you can support each other, work towards financial wellness and look toward a bright future together.
Talk about your Financial Future Together
Once you decide to get married, it is time to get detailed about your financial future together.
Until the ink is dry on your marriage license, your financial accounts are still to be kept separate. But you should have all your cards laid out on the table. (pun intended) The goal of these conversations is not to judge, shame or ridicule, but rather to make a plan for the future together, limit future resentment and set your marriage up for success! This is incredibly important to do before the wedding because it will help you set your budget for your wedding that you both agree upon.
Don’t Skip the Joint Bank Account
After the wedding and the honeymoon, it is time to marry the bank accounts!
A trend we are seeing on a regular basis with young married couples, is deciding to maintain independence and keeping bank accounts separate. However, this holds you both back and actually makes things far more complicated than they need to be. Couples that have chosen to keep accounts separate usually have one of the following reasons for doing so:
Worried their significant other will spend too much of “their money”
“We don’t both need to do it. He/She is better at managing the money, so why should I bother?”
The danger here is that when you are married, keeping track of whose money is whose is a fight waiting to happen. At this point in the relationship the money isn’t yours and it isn’t mine, it is ours. Get used to it. This is why having all of the early conversations about money and discussing your financial future together is so important. It’s about building a pillar of trust around money management and navigating your finances as a couple, no longer as individuals.
And while it may sound great to divide and conquer, it can lead to important needs going unmet and uncertainty about the future for half of you. While there can be a primary action taker, decisions need to be made together. Not only should you both understand what you are deciding, but most importantly how it could effect you in the future.
Looking for more information on how you and your spouse can win with money? Check out our other blog by Dylan about managing your finances as a couple.