One of the best ways to ensure that a long-term relationship will last is to make sure that your money management is a shared goal. Financial stress when you are single is hard enough, but when there are two of you it can become an ongoing issue that threatens the future of your relationship. It can take a bit of work to develop the right system, and what works for one couple simply will not work for others. However, the good news is that you can make your relationship stronger than ever by ensuring that you are both on the same page when it comes to finances. Here are some financial tips that everyone in a long-term relationship needs to know about.
Tip 1: Be Honest
If one of you is being misleading about your levels of debt or your current financial status then you are just asking for arguments. The single most important thing that you can do to safeguard a relationship is to be honest at all times, and that includes everything related to money. Both people in the relationship need to know exactly where the other stands in terms of debts, loans, spending habits, credit score, and financial goals. This can be a tough conversation to have, and some people are embarrassed by their finances. By being honest, that tough chat ensures that you are both looking at the future of your finances with a clearer idea of what to expect and what goals to set.
Tip 2: Joint Budgets
If you want to avoid fights about money, then having a set joint budget is one of the best options to look at. Making sure that both partners in the relationship have clearly defined budgets to spend on daily and monthly activities makes it much easier to save money for your future. Make sure that you know what your monthly bills are and consider setting up a joint bank account that you both pay into every payday. Use that joint bank account and set up direct debits to pay for your regular bills. You do not have to lose your financial independence just because you are in a long-term relationship. Both of you can keep that solo bank account for your own spending, but a joint bank account for covering shared expenses is always a smart move.
Tip 3: Merge Spending
If you are both spending money on the same things, then you could be hurting your budget unnecessarily. For surface-level changes, look at things like the streaming services that you pay for. Merge your Netflix or Spotify accounts so that you can cut your monthly costs quickly and easily. For a more in-depth and profitable merging of your spending, look at more long-term spending. For example, look closely at what you are paying for your separate life insurance policies. Life insurance is more important than ever, it can often be very costly when there are two of you spending money on different policies. Look at switching to a joint policy that can end up costing you a lot less without missing out on the benefits. The more ways that you can merge your spending, the lower your monthly expenses are going to be, so take the time to break down and compare your regular spending.
Tip 4: Set Financial Goals
One of the reasons why couples fight over money so much is because of a lack of shared vision. If one partner spends on frivolous items because they think money should be enjoyed, while the other aggressively saves to secure a more financially stable future, problems are going to occur. It is vital that you have an open and honest conversation about your money goals. Whether you want to save enough each year to be able to afford an extravagant vacation, buy a house, start a business, or any other financial goal, make sure that you are both on the same page. Goal setting is a proven way to see success and the more that you both have a clearer idea of those goals, the less likely it is that money will be the cause of squabbles.
Tip 5: Talk Weekly
That first awkward conversation about money should not be the only time that you discuss your finances. It is always a good idea to allocate time every week to sit down together and talk about spending. Having shared financial goals is vital, but it can be easy to overspend accidentally, especially if you are not paying in cash for a purchase. A mistake that a lot of couples make is separating responsibilities. One member of the team will be in charge of finances, leaving the other partner in the dark. That means one member of the couple is going to get a shock if they find that there are missed bill payments or they are behind on the rent. Sit down together every week and review all of your accounts, what you have spent money on this week, what payments are upcoming that need to be budgeted for, and the current status of your financial goals. When it comes to managing money as a couple, you need to be a team that works together. Weekly catch ups about cash are very valuable.
Tip 6: Treats & Celebrations
Money management does not have to mean living frugally 365 days a year. You have financial goals, so do not forget to celebrate when you hit those goals. If your savings have exceeded your original hopes, then feel free to treat yourselves to an early vacation or a few more takeaways than you would normally be able to justify. It is important that you celebrate financial wins and milestones as much as you protect against financial setbacks. Money is always a stressful subject, but it does not have to be without its high points. If you have just managed to pay off a debt, boost your credit score, or finish paying off your student loans, do not forget to celebrate the fact together.
Trust is vital in every relationship, and that means trust in every area of our lives, including money. The more honest and open you both are about your cash, your spending, and your debts, the more you will be able to work together. Money mismanagement and misaligned financial goals are a leading cause of break-ups. If you want your relationship to last, then it is time to start thinking a little more about just how you should be working together to reach your shared financial goals.