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Today’s video is on one of the most under-rated topics in personal finance, and that is on how to manage your finances together as a couple.
Sure it’s easy when you live and spend for yourself, but when you find “the one”, you want to make sure your finances are as strong as your relationship!
OK, so up until now, your financial decisions affected only you.
You had no one to answer to and everything revolved around you. Then you decided to get married… and you find out that your spouse’s attitude to money is completely different to yours.
What do you do now?
Well if you’re confused whether to combine, separate or mix it all together, then here are some things which might help you.
But first, some hard statistics.
New research from Westpac shows that a lack of communication around finances is prominent among Australian couples, with more than a third (36 per cent) of relationships not in a financially healthy position.
As a result, almost 1/10 people in committed relationships are not open and honest with their partner about debt and their financial situation.
So here are 3 key areas all couples need to work on to ensure a healthy financial relationship.
It’s important to work out whether your partner is a spender or a saver.
If you have different money personalities, income disparities, or both, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to combine finances.
The key is figuring out the right balance for your relationship.
Number 2 – Communicate about money
Just like any other factor in a relationship, it’s important to be open with one another because money problems are often a prelude to deeper relationship issues.
If you find you or your partner are having awkward conversations because of money, here are some potential fixes:
Agree on some wiggle room. This may be an allowance amount that you’re each allowed to spend per month, no questions asked. For example you may decide that each partner will be allocated $200 of “fun money” for personal indulgences without judgement.
Money dates. As unromantic as this sounds, scheduling regular money dates allows you both to stay on the same page. For example, MrsFrugalSamurai and I have a dedicated time on Sunday we call “Accountability Sunday”, in which we sit down and go through the weekly income and expenses together, to determine what worked and what didn’t. It’s important to be open and not judgemental during these sessions.
Financial goals. It’s also important to be on the same page with one another so you both are working towards the same goal. This can be to save for a holiday, or to build up an investment portfolio. Whatever it is, both of you have to work together towards it.
Number 3 – Which way forward?
Now let’s examine the different ways in which you can combine your finances as a couple
Yours, Mines, Ours. In this scenario, you’ll keep most of your finances separate, except for one joint account to which both contribute equal amounts – e.g. to pay for household bills. This might work if you both have assets and loans in individual names.
Income-based. This is when you calculate your expenses and make contributions to a joint account that’s proportional to each person’s income. This could work if one partner earns a much higher income than the other but both want to contribute. For example, if I earn $50,000 and MrsFrugalSamurai earns $100,000 – and we have bills of $3,000, Then MrsFrugalSamurai pays $2,000 and I pay $1,000.
Shared account, one income. This is if there is one breadwinner who pays for all the expenses and the other is a stay-at-home spouse or parent. E.g. MrsFrugalSamurai earns $100k and pays for all the bills. You’ll want to be very open under this scenario with each other.
Partnership. This is where couples completely combine their finances, and have no more individual accounts. This is the easiest solution as a couple.
One pays, one saves. This is where the couple live off one income, and saves the other’s income as savings/investing. This might work if one partner has a fluctuating income, or you are working towards some major financial goal.
Whichever way you decide you need to tackle your finances as a team to achieve your shared dreams together. Personally boy, let me tell you that when I first met MrsFrugalSamurai, her money habits and mine – were at polar opposites. But over time, we managed to find a balance through being open with each other and working together.
We have both individual and joint accounts, and are very clear on what our financial goals are. So however you manage your money together, treat each other respectfully, be honest, and recognize that there are contributions beyond how big of a paycheque either of you brings home.
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