Love and Finances: How to Navigate Money Matters as a Couple
2/1/2024 8:00:00 AM
Ah, the early days of a romantic relationship, filled with butterflies, the excitement of getting to know someone on a new level, and the age-old question: who pays for dinner?
When it comes to love and relationships, money may not be the most romantic topic in the world, but it is an important one, especially as you and your partner become more serious. To make sure you’re both on the same page financially, here are some important things to consider.
Have honest and open conversations
As you get comfortable enough to share details about your financial lives with each other, it’s important to have honest conversations and discuss topics including:
- Your attitude toward money: One of the most important things to discuss is how you approach money in your life. Are you more of a spender than a saver, or are you more frugal? When you get your paycheck, does it go straight into savings, or do you go shopping? It’s not the end of the world if you and your partner feel differently about money, but you’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable with each other’s attitudes.
- Your financial past: Do you have debt, such as from student loans or credit cards? If so, do you have a plan to pay it off? Significant debt can be a major burden on a new relationship, and depending on the amount you or your partner owe, it could be necessary to work with a professional.
- Goals for the future: Will you want to have children, or buy a home? If so, how soon? How much do you currently have saved for a potential down payment, and how much would you need to save? These are all major life and financial decisions that you and your partner will need to work through together.
Depending on each partner’s personal circumstances, money could be a challenging topic to discuss, especially if it wasn’t something your family brought up around you when you were younger. That makes it important to be patient and understanding during these conversations to avoid any unnecessary tension.
Create a joint account
As you and your partner begin to merge more of your lives, creating a joint bank account may make sense. Keeping an account that you each contribute money to allows you to pay for bills and expenses that affect you both (such as rent, groceries, internet, subscriptions, etc.) in an easy and fair way.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should only have a joint account – you may still want to have your own account that you can use for personal purchases. Discuss with each other the approach you’d be comfortable taking.
You can set up a joint account together at a Bell Bank branch near you.
Establish a budgetWhether you plan to pay for your bills out of a joint account or separately, it may be useful for you and your partner to set up a budget for household finances. Creating a budget can help you see where your money is going and how much you’re both able to save on a regular basis. If it seems like you’re spending too much, work together to find a better approach. Relationships are all about teamwork, and your finances are no exception.
Have regular checkupsNo matter the stage of your relationship – whether you’re just starting to live with each other or your wedding date is fast approaching – money will always play a big role in your lives together. Commit to having conversations about your finances and checking in on your budget regularly. As with any aspect of a relationship, you and your partner should strive to work side by side in harmony as you navigate your life together.
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