How to Manage Money in a Relationship
Communication is key to a happy relationship and that also applies to managing money. The more you talk about it and work on it together, the better off you'll be together. But different methods work for different couples. So here are a few options to talk through and find the best option for you both:
1. Completely Merge Your Finances
One option is to ditch your separate accounts and pool all of your money into one account. This may be easier for couples to budget and keep track of their money since it's in one account; there's only one place to look.
2. Have a Joint Account Along With Separate Accounts
Personally, this is my preferred method and what my husband and I do. We have a joint account for paying the main bills such as the mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc. Then we each have a separate checking account for personal spending. While this works for us, it may not work for everyone. If you choose this method, you need to make sure you're talking to each other if you make any big purchases and ensure that there's money going to savings.
3. Keep Accounts Separate
For some, it may just be easier to keep everything separate if you're both comfortable managing money and can have frequent conversations about your budget and bills. If you go this route, it's a good idea to set up automatic payments to avoid any missed payments.
Tips for Success
Talk About Money and Goals
Be sure that you're both on the same page with your finances. What are your goals? Do you want to take a vacation soon, pay off debt faster, or purchase a home? Keep the lines of communication open and talk about it regularly; aim for at least once a month. Sometimes our finances change, whether it's a new bill or increased/decreased income. So it's important that you both know what's happening.
Open either 1 or 2 separate savings accounts (whichever you prefer) and set up automatic deposit(s) into your savings account. Savings will be your safety net in case of an emergency/unexpected expense and will hopefully help you avoid debt. Also, you both should try to set aside money into a retirement account like a 401k or 403b. If your employer offers this option and/or an employer match program, take advantage of it.
Create a Shared Calendar
Regardless which of the 3 money management options you choose, put all your due dates and payment info on a shared calendar. That way, if one of you is ever out of town or injured, the other person will always know what payments are due and when.
If you and your partner have credit card debt, LSS can help. You will receive realistic, action-oriented advice and options to pay off your debt faster so you can achieve your other financial goals. Call us at 888.577.2227 for your free session or GET STARTED ONLINE at your convenience.
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.