It’s said that couples who budget together stick together!
It’s the month of love so get on the same page as you partner when it comes to money and save yourselves a whole lot of stress and anxiety.
Here’s some tips shared by happy couples:
1. Understand and respect each other’s views
No two people are the same and may view and treat money quite differently to their partner! There is no right or wrong way – we all behave in the way we believe is right and this is influenced by our childhood and our experiences growing up.
Be curious and find out more about how money was handled as your partner was growing up. Was money talk taboo or was it openly spoken about? Was there enough money or was it always in short supply? Was money used as a weapon? How did the roles play out between the adults when it came to earning and spending?
There are a myriad of questions you could ask and this will give you great insight. Respect the differences and don’t presume that your view is right.
2. Agree on the money mechanics
Discuss how bills will be paid so that you’re both on the same page. Remember too that contributions to the household do not have to be on a 50/50 basis – if one partner earns more, they can contribute more.
Also decide who will pay the bills – will one person be the household minister of finance? Also will you have a joint bank account for joint expenses, or will each partner pay a particular item (such as groceries or the bond?). Women should not pay all the day to day expenses while their partner pays for the investments, properties and other assets.
Make sure as a woman you have some investments and savings of your own.
3. No money secrets
Hiding or lying to your partner about money or spending is a recipe for disaster. It’s called “financial infidelity” and it’s just as harmful as having an affair.
If you’re not honest with your partner around finances, it leaves doubt as to what else you’re not honest about breaking down trust, which is the cornerstone of any relationship. It’s also entirely selfish and can prevent you achieving joint financial goals. So be completely open and honest when it comes to money.
4. Plan together
Draw up a budget together so that each partner is accountable to make it work. It eliminates any surprises or resentment about how money is spent as there is agreement upfront. Set financial goals together and reach agreement on where money is to be invested.
There may also be difference of opinion on how much debt to take on. Discussing issues together and getting professional advice if needed to ensure that your finances and relationship stays on track.
5. Yours, mine and ours
While you have joint expenses, goals and plans, each partner also needs to keep their financial independence. Having to put your whole salary into a joint account for family expenses can lead to resentment, so it’s important to allocate some of your income for your own use in your own bank account. Each partner should do this. You’ll each have some discretionary spending money and be able to invest for your own financial security. A strong relationship is made up of two well balanced people so you can be independent while being loyal to the joint financial agenda.
6. Set regular money dates
Have regular money conversations and check in with your partner at least monthly. It helps you stay on track and a good opportunity to discuss any money related issues that have cropped up.
Make it pleasant: pick a set time (such as the last Thursday evening of each month), grab a drink, order some take away food and have a constructive conversation. Make it fun and relaxing. When it comes to longer term goals, meet with your financial adviser at least once a year to make sure these are on track.
This article was written by Sylvia Walker, financial planner, speaker and author of smartwoman. www.sylviawalker.co.za