You may have seen our recent feature on ‘Top Financial Tips for a Destination Wedding’ and hopefully will have found it useful. We also know that talking about money with your special someone isn’t exactly top of your agenda…….
BUT given the importance it plays in couples’ lives and the worry money troubles can cause, we thought it might be useful to share some more general tips to help you achieve your financial goals so you can focus on your wedding planning and look forward to many more Valentine’s Days to come…..
The following tips are from MetLife and provide a blueprint that should help couples avoid common mistakes and manage their finances in a way that suits both partners.
The list of tips comes from a “Love and Money” workshop that is part of MetLife’s workplace-based PlanSmart® Financial Education series. We would love to hear your thoughts on them….
MetLife PlanSmart Top 10 Financial Tips for Couples
- Adopt the “yours, mine, and ours” approach to joint accounts. Set up a joint account to manage your money collaboratively, with monthly payments directed to individual accounts that allow each person to spend some money as they choose.
- Determine who will be responsible for paying bills, balancing the checking account, and researching large purchases, based on each of your talents and needs. It’s okay to make changes as you go along if one person becomes too busy or isn’t doing a good job.
- Establish shared financial goals for both the short and long term, and how you will work together as a couple to achieve them. If you need to, seek the advice of a financial professional to help you set your priorities.
- Create a budget that allows you to track how you spend money as a couple and reflects your individual spending habits. Don’t use the budget to force your own habits onto your partner or to blame your partner for spending too much.
- Work together to pay off existing debt, and understand the difference between good and bad debt. Be careful that you don’t take on too much debt, good or bad, as too much of either kind still hurts your financial security.
- Discuss your individual levels of risk tolerance and identify a level that you are both comfortable with. Make sure to take the time horizon for your investments into account.
- Avoid keeping financial secrets from your partner, which can create feelings of distrust and betrayal. Honest and open communication about financial matters is best.
- Be a team player. If you and your partner earn different salaries, don’t point out your partner’s lack of income or brag about your paycheck. Look at other contributions the lower-earning partner makes to the household.
- Learn about your partner’s financial situation before committing to a long-term relationship. Talk to them about their credit score, debt, and how you will handle larger financial issues as a couple.
- Carve out a dedicated time to have specific discussions about your financial situation and how to improve it at least four times a year.
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