Money Management for Couples: 6 Tips for Stronger Finances

Finances
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Do you keep joint finances with your spouse or partner? If so, it may be helpful to know a thing or two about money management for couples, including how to be jointly involved in managing money together — without driving each other crazy or getting into fights over finances.

Here's what to consider when managing money together to strengthen your financial situation and (possibly) even your relationship.

1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

What is one of the most important things you can do when managing money together? Communicate. Communication can drive everything forward — and a lack of communication can keep you stuck in one spot. And this is usually true of every part of your relationship, not just your finances.

Communication means listening — not just sharing. Engage in active listening to better your communication: Listen carefully to what your partner said. Then, repeat it back to them in your own words to show you understand.

If something makes you or your partner angry, try to hit the pause button. Sometimes, it's tough to think rationally and be fair in a heated moment. Give each other some space and a little time to calm down, so when you return to the conversation, you both might be able to speak more reasonably and communicate in a way that's more effective.

2. Be Honest

You might think honesty in a relationship is a given, but two in five Americans admit to financial infidelity — including hiding receipts, debts or financial accounts — according to a 2016 study by the National Endowment for Financial Education. And the same study revealed that 75 percent believe these deceptions have affected their relationship.

Whether it's hiding something, lying about spending or keeping accounts the other person doesn't know about, dishonesty won't just hurt your relationship — it could do damage to your financial situation too.

If you don't disclose things like extra spending, your budget won't reflect accurate numbers. And not dealing with exact numbers around your cash flow could disrupt your savings plans and may even cause you to rack up debt. When it comes to couples and money, honesty may prove to be the golden rule.

3. Don't Blame or Pass Judgment

Honesty is the best policy. However, you may be afraid to open up if you're worried your partner will blame or judge you for any financial problems you might have as a couple. (And your partner may also feel the same way.)

But here's the thing: Judging the other person is unlikely to motivate them to change. And blame isn't likely to solve the actual issue you're trying to address in your finances. It's not helpful and can distract from finding solutions. It may even lead to resentment within your relationship.

Of course, it's not always easy to avoid blame or judgment (and you might feel helpless if you're the one being blamed). If you find yourself in a place where you and your partner fight about money because one or both of you blames and judges the other, it might be time to call in a mediator.

4. Ask for Help From an Objective Third Party

An objective third party can be an excellent help for touchy financial conversations. This person can come in and look at your situation from a fresh perspective and give unbiased advice. In the case of your finances, that could be a financial representative. A representative can work with you and your partner to create a financial plan, show you how to implement the action steps and hold you accountable for reaching your goals.

5. Set Goals Together

If you want to build a life together, it makes sense to set your goals together. After all, goals are a bit like destinations. The steps you take toward your goals are like your route from point A (which is where you are now) and point B (which is where you'll be when you achieve your goal).

You'll likely have two kinds of goals: individual goals and joint goals. Yes, you can have individual goals! Just make sure to communicate what you want to accomplish with your partner and plan how you'll both use part of your household finances to fund some of those separate pursuits.

Joint goals are ones you have in common and can work toward together. Make a list that puts all your goals in order of priority. This might require some compromising, and it may make more sense to put your big-picture joint goals — like retirement planning or investing — toward the top.

6. Be Equally Involved in Managing Money

Both of you will want to be involved in handling your household finances. No matter what kind of job you have, how much money you make or what you do around the house, you both contribute to creating your lives together. It doesn't matter if your contributions are perfectly equal — rarely is anything a perfect balance in life. And that's okay.

Regardless of who does or makes what, try to be equally involved. It might help to set a date on your calendar every month to have a conversation about money, review your income and expenses, see if you made progress toward your goals and talk through any concerns as they come up.

Money management for couples could strengthen your relationship. Work as a team and support each other through the process of managing money to enjoy the kind of financial success you want together. Communicate, stay open and honest with each other and provide help and support as you each need it along the way.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

Information provided is general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. Western & Southern Financial Group and its member companies (“the Company”) does not provide legal or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. The Company makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use. The Company disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Consult an attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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