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Love, as it turns out, is not all you need

Love and money are two topics that go hand in hand as part of building a healthy relationship that lasts.  Unfortunately, many couples don’t discuss money issues until after getting married.  There are a few important topics to cover with your significant other before walking down the aisle.
Why are financial matters so important to discuss early on in a relationship?
Money issues are still given as the number 1 reason that marriages end in divorce. Many times, having an honest discussion at the beginning of a relationship can be helpful.  And not overlooking financial habits in your partner that are really upsetting to you can make a difference in the long term success of your relationship too..
When and what should couples start discussing financial matters?
You probably shouldn’t discuss credit scores on the first date but as the relationship moves to being more serious, start talking about easy subjects such as:  how much debt is too much;  is it important to pay bills on time; willingness to live on a budget;  etc.  As you feel more comfortable with where the relationship is heading you should then move into discussing each other’s current financial situation in depth.  You don’t want to find out after you are married about a financial situation that could stress your marriage from the very beginning.
What are some of the bigger reasons married couples have financial difficulties?
One of the biggest, yet easy to address is the feelings about when each other needs to be consulted on a purchase.  Some people think anything over $100 should be discussed.  For others that limit is $1,000.  If you don’t talk and agree on the amount that is okay to spend without talking to the other person, it creates friction that can grow over time.  We all have been brought up differently and that is why we have different feelings about money.
Another potential issue is not discussing major financial goals and coming to an agreement on what is a priority.  It will always be a compromise and as long as both agree and commit to a common goal, many issues are easily avoided.  It makes every day financial decisions easier because either it is part of your plan or it is not.
Should couples expect their financial goals to change?
Yes, first understand that plans made when you are 20 something will change as you grow together. Secondly, when it comes to financial matters, it’s not about getting your way or winning, it’s about doing what is best financially and emotionally for the both of you.  Don’t keep score.  You are team and each decision is a point for the team not you or your significant other.  And be willing to adapt and change your goals as your life together ends up differently than you expected.

Posted: 2/18/2014 with 3 comments

Categories: Money Matters, Planning, Relationships

Whittney Murphy
My partner and I have recently moved in together and that topic of money has just been getting easier and easier to talk about. We recently opened a joint account and started a 52 week savings plan to fill it. I'm the one who's the shopaholic and she's put me on a budget. IF I can't pay cash for it, then I most likely don't need it. (that's the rule of thumb we've come up with). We had some bumpy talks before as money is a tight issue. We started with "how much do you make?" and then once that bubble was finally popped, we were able to move forward to hardier money topics.
3/13/2014 10:32:25 PM

Cindy Garzon
be careful and not expect to live like your parents. Do not use credit cards, and have a budget meeting for each month to share with each other your expenses coming up and stick to the budget. Start an savings in a market fund account where the funds are accessible and build an emergency fund of 3 months salary (at least). Discuss any and all big purchase (over a specific amount decided) and with expensive and major buys.. sleep on it before deciding!
3/10/2014 4:53:21 PM

This is very good advice. I did have some marital problems over saving money and big purchases. I struggled with coming up with a number for a big purchase since my idea of big is not the same as his idea of big. I am not discussing the financials more. We are saving together now and this helps. Great ideas and advice.
3/10/2014 4:37:08 PM

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