When it comes to money, couples can often find themselves in a difficult spot. In fact, one in five couples identifies money as their greatest relationship challenge, according to a 2021 Fidelity Investments survey of individuals ages 25 years and older in a married or long-term committed relationship.
There can be a lot of tension around money – who spends too much or who doesn’t save enough. But sometimes the most difficult issue is more basic than that. It’s about how to combine finances, if at all. Is it better to keep everything separate? And if you do join forces, who keeps track of the spending and saving, and how do you do it?
Here are some tips on how couples can manage their finances.
1. Have a Conversation
The first step is to have a conversation about money with your partner. This can be a difficult discussion, but it’s important to be open and honest with each other. Talk about your goals for your finances, both short- and long-term, and how you want to work together to achieve them.
2. Create a Budget
Once you have talked about your goals, it’s time to create a budget. This will help you both stay on track with your spending and saving. Each month, sit down and go over your budget together. Make sure both of you understand where the money is going and how it is being allocated.
3. Have Separate Accounts
If you find it difficult to work together on a budget, consider having separate accounts. This can help keep things organized and make it easier to track your spending. Each person can manage their own finances independently, which can take some of the stress off of the relationship.
4. Use a Shared Account for Emergencies
If you do have a joint account, make sure there is also a shared account for emergencies. This will help ensure that both of you have access to funds in case of an unexpected expense. It can also be helpful to have a joint savings account so you can save for big milestones, like a wedding or down payment on a house, together.
5. Stay On Top of Your Finances
The best way to manage your finances as a couple is to stay on top of them. This means regularly checking in on your budget, tracking your spending and saving, and making sure you are both on the same page. If one person falls off track, it can impact the whole relationship.
6. Keep track of your expenses by using a financial tracking app or spreadsheet.
This will help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can save. Here, you can see what percentage of your money goes into basic necessities, loans, entertainment, and even charity. This is also a good way for you to be transparent on your spending as a couple.
Managing your finances as a couple can be challenging, but it’s important to have open communication and work together towards common goals. These tips can help make it a little bit easier.