15 Tips For Couples Managing Money
Money is a tool that you can use to align your relationship or tear it apart. As a relationship counselor, I work with couples on varying topics. One of the most common ones is finances.
The topic of finances typically is challenging for couples due to their own relationship with money and literacy surrounding money.
1. Engage in finical education together. There are so many ways to improve your relationship. I strongly encourage couples to engage in education that can develop their knowledge surrounding money. You can do this online using a webinar or attend a presentation. The key is to get educated together.
Netflix has a helpful show on money. It’s called money explained. Click here to check it out.
2. Get to know your relationship with money. You can start a conversation with your partner on the basic level of defining what money means to you, your relationship with money, and your fear or anxiety around money.
Having this conversation with your partner can teach you how they see money and impact the manner in which you navigate the topic of money.
3. Disconnect money from the person. To build success in this area it’s vital that you ensure you are treating your partner with integrity and respect.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that your partner decides to overspend. At this point, you decide to yell at them and call them derogatory names based on their behaviors. This leads to high conflict and simply not a good place. Instead of doing this, try to approach them from a place of understanding. This can start by you trying to understand what happened, showing compassion, and working together to create a plan for the issue to not have again.
Remember, value, and respect your partner.
4. Do not shame your partner on the number they earn. One of the most toxic money-related traits is found in couples that shame one another based on the amount they earn. You and your partner are not a reflection of the dollar amount on the paycheck. It is vital that you treat your partner with love, respect, and admiration.
5. Get to know how your childhood has impacted your relationship with money. During many of my couples counseling sessions, I encourage the couple to talk about their childhood experiences that relate to money. We often discuss how money was used in the home, what it was like to go shopping, and if their own parents were savers or overspenders.
The reason you want to talk about childhood is due to the influence it has on adulthood. Do not skip out on this conversation.
6. Evaluate if you are a saver or spender. Typically, one person is the risk taker and the other a bit more conservative. Take a look at the relationship history and your own life. Once you have the answer talk about the differences and similarities, and ensure that you are creating structure around the differences.
In the past, I worked with a couple who for years they focused strictly on saving. They had a lot saved in the past 7 years. One partner was extremely unhappy due to feeling that they were not living life. The partner shared their desire to travel and see the world as it was something connected to their interest and values.
7. Create an ongoing accounting system. This will take place in a structured manner in which you and your partner continue to review the numbers and money-related goals.
This process takes place in a similar manner to a business meeting. Create a schedule focused on coming together for a set period of time. During the meeting talk about the topic of money, feelings around money, and goals connected to money.
An important reason to review the bank accounts and all money-related accounts together is for security, trust, and respect. You want to have the security in knowing that if something happens to you, your partner will know not only the access information to the bank accounts but also how to manage the money.
A helpful book on financial education is, I’ll teach you to be rich. Click here to check it out.
8. Set up multiple bank accounts that serve specific purposes. Many couples struggle with the question of setting up bank accounts. They often struggle with the decision of taking the route of the individual to joint accounts.
It’s interesting that this topic tends to be one that hurts relationships. At times couples will fight over wanting to keep their separate accounts or become very resistant to the idea of wanting a joint account.
To address this area start from the foundation of goals and purpose. Design each account based on a specific goal and purpose versus who has access to it. For instance, you can have one bank account designed to save money to purchase a rental property. The account may be a high-yield saving account. Another account can be a joint that pulls a certain percentage from an individual monthly. This one can be designed to pay monthly ongoing bills.
9. Do not hide money. Hiding is secrecy and secrecy destroys relationships. Healthy relationships have open channels of communication and transparency.
You would not want to be part of a job that does not tell you when you will be paid or what the job expectations are. In the same way, it is not just to hold secrets in your relationship. A supportive read on connection and communication for couples is found here.
10. Use the money and save the money. There must be a healthy balance of enjoying the money that you are making while also saving it for future goals and plans.
A helpful activity is to speak with your partner about what a comfortable and enjoyable life looks like for each of you. Expect to have differences. You may notice that one of you enjoys getting Starbucks a few days during the week and taking a monthly trip to a local nearby town. Instead of denying yourself what makes you happy, try to enjoy your life in a reasonable way.
11. Build each other’s credit. It’s vital to hold literacy in finances. Simply meaning that you must have education around the topic of money. As such, do your best to find ongoing ways in your relationship that will build each person’s credit score. Doing this provides not only financial advantages but security.
The advantages can range from qualifying for better credit cards to purchasing a vacation home. The security is that if something happens to you, your partner will be okay.
12. Create a budget for specific categories. It can be extremely helpful to create a budget that serves specific categories in your life. The categories can range from a budget for groceries to a budget for yearly vacations. The purpose of the budget is to ensure that both are working together to meet the budget requirements as a team.
13. Discuss large purchases. I have had couples visit my office due to a large purchase. I want you to consider what a large purchase is in your relationship and what the requirements are when engaging in large purchases.
I encourage couples to create structure around large purchases. Come up with what number defines a large purchase. Discuss when you would need to talk about the purchase and when it’s okay to purchase something without bringing it up to your partner.
14. Assign financial roles. The first recommendation provided encourages you to gain financial education together. During your journey in financial literacy, you will notice that there will be some areas you are strong at and other areas your partner holds strength in. This is great.
Together review your financial goals and budgets. Identify what roles you will take and the ones your partner will lead. When taking on a specific role please ensure that you maintain connected. This was discussed in the point above that went over accounting systems. Ensure that you continue to keep each other informed.
15. Create a debt-eliminating system. Debt is typically a topic that causes people to experience stress and anxiety. You can eliminate debt by creating a system that both agree on and can support each other with. An example is the snowball. You can start by paying off the smallest amount owed first. Once you finish that loan, move to the next one using the prior money. This overtime creates the snowball. Click here to read more about the snowball.