Managing finances as a couple can be challenging. This is especially true if you’re a new couple and still learning about each other’s views on money. Financial expert Vivian Tu recently outlined some of the common money pitfalls couples encounter.
Whether you’re living together or married, understanding these financial mistakes is the first step toward a secure and prosperous future together. Here are the top money mistakes Tu says couples make, along with practical tips to foster both romantic and financial harmony.
1. Not Talking About Money
One of the biggest mistakes couples make is not talking about money. During an interview on the BiggerPockets podcast, Tu stresses the importance of open communication. She says it’s crucial to discuss earnings, debts, and financial goals. Without this discussion, couples can’t plan for their future properly.
2. Ignoring Individual Financial Health
Each person in a relationship should maintain their financial health. Tu highlights that it’s a mistake to ignore personal credit scores and savings. She suggests regular check-ins on individual finances to stay on track. Tu says a couple needs to sit down and have a discussion if one of them is struggling financially.
“Someone’s not going to change because they love you,” said Tu during the podcast. “You need to make sure that someone loves themselves enough to want to change so that you guys can have a happy healthy life together. It’s not like, ‘You take care of me; I take care of you.’ It’s like, ‘You take care of you, and I take care of me, and that way we can work together as a team.”
3. Failing to Create a Joint Budget
A joint budget is essential for managing household expenses. Couples often fail to budget together, leading to overspending. Tu recommends creating a budget that accounts for all income and expenses, allowing both partners to have a clear understanding of their financial picture.
“You need to have the conversation about how you’re spending, where that money is coming from, what your expenses are, what you’re saving for, and what you’re investing in together,” said Tu.
4. Lack of Emergency Funds
An emergency fund is a safety net. Without it, unexpected expenses can cause financial stress. Tu advises couples to save at least three to six months’ worth of expenses. This fund can help cover unforeseen costs without affecting the overall financial plan.
5. Not Planning for the Future
Long-term goals like retirement can seem far away, but it’s a mistake not to plan for them. Couples should start saving early. This means taking advantage of retirement accounts and matching contributions if available.
6. Making Large Purchases Without Discussion
Big purchases should always be a joint decision. When one person spends a significant amount of money without consulting the other, it can lead to arguments. It’s best to set a spending limit where both partners agree before making the purchase.
7. Being Unaware of Each Other’s Spending Habits
Understanding how each partner spends money can prevent conflicts. Tu notes that couples often overlook this, leading to misunderstandings about money. She advises discussing spending habits to ensure they align with the couple’s financial goals.
8. Not Reviewing Financial Plans Regularly
Finally, Tu warns against the lack of regular financial reviews. Couples should assess their financial plans to ensure they’re still on the right path. Life changes, and so should financial strategies.
Tu’s advice for couples is to be proactive about finances. Communication, budgeting, and planning are keys to avoiding these money mistakes. Couples who work together on their financial health are more likely to achieve their shared goals and enjoy a stable future.
Editor's note: This article was produced via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of GOBankingRates' editorial team.
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