Building a lasting relationship is like moving to a new country – speaking the right language helps.
That doesn't mean you have to have the same priorities and opinions. Rather, both of you should have a good idea of what makes the other person tick. Financially, this means that you have a clear picture of how you are going to handle money.
It's not as easy as it sounds. According to a study by The Harris Poll for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), 73% of couples living together say that financial decisions are a constant source of tension in their relationship.
Do you want to avoid becoming a statistic? Learn what financial love language the two of you speak by reading below.
This strategy involves each person having their own bank, credit card, and retirement account, but engaging in the shared expenses as a unit.
The biggest question with this plan is how all bills and common costs can be split. Some prefer an even split of 50/50, while others prefer a proportion based on income.
For example, let's say you are making $ 75,000 while your partner is making $ 50,000. In that case, you'd split everything 60/40. Many couples prefer this type of expense sharing to avoid punishing the low income earner.
If the higher earner also has a large student loan balance, this should be taken into account when calculating the percentage.
You can open a shared bank account to pay bills like rent, utilities, internet, and groceries. You can also pay for things with your individual account and then use an app like Splitwise to keep track of who owes what.
Even if you have separate accounts, you should still talk about long-term financial plans like retirement. If you want to retire at 50 and your partner wants to work until 70, it will have a huge impact on your finances. You also need to decide how you want to save for common goals. This includes vacation, getting a pet, or remodeling your kitchen.
Who does this work best for: This method is best for unmarried couples, mixed families, or people in less traditional situations. If you each have children from a previous relationship, it may be easier to keep everything separate. This strategy is particularly popular with unmarried couples who do not want to combine accounts.
This also works well for couples with one party having a spending problem. It prevents them from building up any funds on the other person's account.
A popular way for couples to manage money is to pay all bills and other necessary expenses through a common account and to create separate accounts for individual discretionary expenses. With the approval method, any person can buy what they want without judgment.
Every month each person receives the same amount of money in their personal account. Any money that is not spent during the month is extended so that people can save for their own long-term goals and purchases. If you both prefer a cash envelope budgeting method, you each get the same amount of money to spend at the beginning of the month.
This method can include arguments and judgmental comments such as "How much did you spend on it?" Prevent. If you're looking to wager $ 500 on a PS5, you are completely free to do so – provided you have enough money on your discretionary account.
It is best if both parties receive the same amount every month, even if there is a large difference in income. When proportional to each person's income, it can lead to resentment, especially with a spouse doing more household chores.
Decide at an early stage what counts as budget expenditure and what counts as discretionary expenditure. Are haircuts, gym membership, and personal care products debited from the joint account? You may need to check-in frequently at the beginning to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Who does this work best for: This strategy works well for couples who want to pay for the total cost together but still want to maintain some financial autonomy. It also allows each person to buy gifts for the other without spoiling the surprise on the bank statement.
Two become one
Some couples prefer to pool all of their money, including their discretionary income.
This method is best for partners with excellent communication skills and rare financial arguments. If one person has no interest in managing their money, they can use this system to give the other person more control.
Who does this work best for: This strategy may work for couples with similar spending habits or on a tight budget who need to keep track of every dollar.
It also works well for couples who are high earning and naturally frugal. For example, if the two of you are making a lot more than you are spending, you may not see any reason to get individual allowances as you will always be under budget.
This is how you determine your financial love language
Take a look at how you currently manage money together and what money love language you use. Then talk about whether or not you prefer a different setup.
As you explain what type of system you prefer, listen to what your partner is saying. Even if you could save more money by having a completely collaborative system, your partner might feel like they are being controlled or you might be judging their spending decisions.
You should also check in regularly to make sure your partner is happy with the arrangement. Opinions can change over time, and what used to be fair can become a problem. For example, keeping everything separate may be less realistic when you have a child together.
If you still have a financial disagreement or cannot agree on a fair method, it may be worth finding a licensed financial therapist who specializes in couples. The Financial Therapy Association has a directory that you can search for a qualified counselor, many of whom are also licensed marriage and family therapists.
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Zina Kumok (116 posts)
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance. As a former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth, and Time. Read how she repaid $ 28,000 in student loans at Conscious Coins in three years.