When we fall in love, the last thing we’re thinking about is money. This is part of what makes falling in love so wondrous: It transcends the mundane, the difficult and the stressful aspects of life. But romantic partnerships aren’t so terribly different from business partnerships in that they require you to be on the same page financially, because, as Brian Meiggs of My Millennial Guide points out, “sooner or later it’s going to be apparent if you’re not.”
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The idea of merging love and money might seem like an unromantic hassle, but it’s necessary, particularly when noting that financial issues are the #1 reason married couples divorce. GOBankingRates consulted money experts suggest the following tips to make sure you and your partner maintain a healthy financial relationship, which will in turn empower your overall partnership.
Tip #1: Review Your Finances Together
“Many couples don’t talk openly about money, so when money issues do come up, it becomes a sensitive subject and leads to conflict,” said Pamela Yellen, financial expert, New York Times best-selling author and founder of Bank On Yourself. “The solution is to sit down with your partner every month and go over your spending and savings plan. Look at everything you bought during the past month and everything you’re thinking of buying soon, and ask yourselves, ‘Is this really a need or a want?'”
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Tip #2: Make It A (Monthly) Date
“A great thing to do to make sure you and your partner stay on the same page financially is to have regular money dates (at least monthly),” said Patricia Stallworth, MBA, CFP, Financial Consultant, PS Worth. “Choose a time and space where you both can relax and then talk about money. The talks can focus on random topics or they can be focused on subjects like saving and spending. In either case, taking the time to talk about money makes for a stronger relationship.”
Tip #3: Determine A Common Goal
“It’s important to find a common ground as a couple in financial goals,” said Syed Nishat, behavioral financial advisor and partner, Wall Street Alliance Group. “It could be goals like education for your children or paying off debts or buying a house. You can identify the goals that are important to you as an individual or also as a couple. You can set priority in each other’s goals and revisit and set new priorities after meeting each goal.”
Tip #4. But Focus on Mindset over Goals
“For many couples, goals tend to lead every discussion, yet many goals go unachieved,” said Brian Halbert, VP Retirement Services, Pension Mark. “We are human and can’t get out of our own way. To help change that, I suggest focusing more on the daily mindset that will help you achieve your goals. For example, if you are trying to pay down debt, focus on the idea that saving a couple of bucks will be more helpful than buying a coffee. Once you transition your mindset, your goal snowball will grow very quickly.”
Halbert added that at the end of the day — or year — “financial goals should help couples grow together.” Keep that front and center in your mind as you work through money matters in unison.
Tip #5: Keep — But Compromise — Your Personal Budgets
“Have a personal budget and the freedom to use it.” said Meiggs. “For example, if your significant other wants to eat out a few times a week and you would rather save by cooking at home, a compromise can be made by eating out every other week. The bottom line is that if there is clear communication between both partners, any financial issue can be resolved.”
Tip #6: Let Go Of Your Ego
“Mistakes will happen when you deal with a financial plan together as a couple,” said Nishat. “No need to dwell on the mistake and make it harder. The best is to revisit the financial plan and get back on track as soon as possible. It also helps to take some online classes together about basic financial plans.”
Nishat pointed out that there are droves of online free classes and videos available that you can watch as a couple and learn information about basic financial planning. “It will keep you aware of any new money-saving tips that you can use to keep your financial plan in check,” he said.
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