Finance can be a stressful topic when you’re single, but sometimes, it could be even more stressful as a couple! Who should pay for what? Should you have a joint account or two separate accounts or both?

It’s unfortunate that money is often a major cause of friction between couples, sometimes ending in divorce. I wish the term, “financial infidelity” were never coined. And while it’s common for partners to have disagreements about their finances, what’s less common is following a few healthy financial practices. So, whether you’re a spender or a saver, whether you and your partner have diametrically opposite investing styles, or whether you’ve talked about your dreams and goals or not, it pays to give these practices a try.

Be brave enough to have conversations that matter

Money influences many of our life decisions. Growing up, our outlook towards money is shaped by the people around us and by the environment we live in. So it’s natural for us to have different opinions on financial matters.

When we’re in a relationship, being open about how we look at money goes a long way in understanding each other better. Talking about our current financial position as well as our future obligations can definitely make us feel vulnerable, but it’s this vulnerability that in turn builds trust.

If you’re hesitant about having such conversations, here are some questions to help get you started:

  • What does money mean to you?
  • Did you have good financial role models while growing up?
  • What’s your opinion on men and women being equal contributors to household finances?

As these conversations progress over time, you could also talk about each other’s spending habits and investing styles. People that are risk-averse might not be open to investing in the stock market, but you never know how a simple conversation about it can help two individuals see eye-to-eye.

If you never ask, you’ll never know, right? 🙂

Building a budget together can strengthen your relationship

Personal finance is not only about how much you save or where you invest. It’s also about how you manage your expenses.

Who’s going to pay for everyday things like grocery bills, or monthly expenses like the internet bill, and from which account? Setting a joint budget for yourselves will help resolve these questions. 

Taking it one step further, when you create a budget-sheet with your partner, what you’re essentially doing is putting down the things that matter the most to you, and to them. For instance, let’s say that music is an important part of your life. When you tell your partner that you’d like to set aside some money every month for piano lessons or live concerts, it shows them what you value.

Moreover, setting a budget isn’t hard. If you’ve done this for yourself, you’d know that the difficult part is actually sticking to the budget. When you have a partner, this aspect becomes a lot simpler. Keeping a check on your expenses and doing this exercise with another individual makes you both more accountable. And over time, this could evolve into a ritual, a budget-date that you both look forward to, maybe every month or even every week!

What’s your team vision?

When you think of your partner as your teammate, managing money together can be an enjoyable task. And doesn’t every team have a vision?

Talk about your life goals. Some of these goals could be personal, but many of them could be mutual. The shared goals you have as a couple could be anything from planning a weekend getaway to settling abroad, from changing careers to retiring early. Building a life together takes two people that are eager to embark on a journey with a shared vision. So don’t hold back on doing this. It will keep you both on track and in tune with each other.

A few months before I got married, a dear friend recommended that I read a book called, The 24×7 Marriage, by Vijay Nagaswami. It was an enlightening read that, among other things, touched upon financial discussions couples must have in order to understand each other better. Clearly, communication is key.

Being open, planning your finances as one unit and working towards your goals together is a process. It takes time to develop a system that works for both you and your partner. But once you do, you’ll be amazed at the discoveries you make along the way. And as you learn and grow together, be sure to check in on each other every once in a while. People evolve, bucket lists change, but if you follow a few simple practices like this, your ability to manage your finances as a team will always shine.

Author Bio - Komal Shivdasani

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