If you and your significant other are trying to navigate your finances together for the first time, figuring out who is responsible for what can be a logistical (and emotional) challenge. Perhaps you’re newly married, have moved into an apartment or purchased a house or condo, or maybe you have simply decided to merge your money into a joint account after years of keeping them separate. Sharing finances in a relationship can reveal many differences in spending and saving habits, but that doesn’t have to cause turmoil between you. Figure out which of these financial personality types best describes you and your partner, and learn how you can navigate your newly shared finances more smoothly.
Sharing finances in a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your significant other have joint checking and savings accounts. Now that you share responsibility for some or all of your finances, however, your decisions impact your overall goals and budget. If one of you tends to plan purchases farther out while the other shops on a whim, sticking to a plan can become a challenge.
One way to help bridge these differences is to decide on a spending amount that warrants a heads up. If you and your significant other agree that amount should be $100, then if either of you plans to spend $100 or more, you will notify your partner ahead of time. Simultaneously, involving the impulse buyer in financial planning can help inspire them to save toward your shared goals.
Even if you and your partner have agreed upon how to budget as a couple, there still may be some differences in how you prioritize your purchases. The first trip to the grocery store after moving in together or stocking up on food and toys for your pets can be eye-opening if one of you heads for the bargain aisle while the other reaches for name brand supplies.
Before you toss out your shared budget, sit down with your significant other to decide where you can make room for certain higher-priced items by saving on generic products or by purchasing in bulk.
Changing spending and savings habits can be difficult, especially if you or your partner has been putting off saving money. But even if you and your partner have been following different timelines, it’s never too late for starting a savings plan or to make changes to your savings goals. Even once you start sharing finances in a relationship, you might find that each of you has your own objectives, such as paying off student loans or increasing 401k contribution.
If you want the option to pay for shared expenses together but keep savings and other finances separate, consider opening a joint checking account for things like mortgage or rent payments, utilities, travel and other expenses.
No matter which type of spender and saver you and your partner are, the key to sharing finances in a relationship is open communication. Be sure to start a dialogue with your significant other, then schedule a complimentary planning session to speak with a member of our team about your savings goals.