While it may be true that "all you need is love,' It's equally true that most couples break up due to disagreements over finances. The biggest reason for this is because couples just don't talk with each other about money.
If you want to succeed with your partner, you need to be on the same page financially. Fortunately, there are four steps you and your partner can take to make sure you are.
1. Set Your Financial Goals as a Couple
Knowing each other’s' financial goals is a key part to understanding each other financially. If you want to buy a new car and your partner wants to focus on building up your savings, you're going to run into problems.
Instead, share your financial goals with each other. Not only will you have a better idea of how to allocate your finances, you'll also have a better idea of who your partner is.
2. Don't Keep Secrets
While you're sharing your goals with your partner, you might be tempted to hold some of your financial goals back. Maybe they just seem to far-fetched, or maybe you're worried they might seem silly to anyone but you.
Whatever you do, don't hold back. At best, you're giving up on a goal that might really mean something to you, and you'll feel as though you're sacrificing your happiness to be with your partner. At worst, you might decide to achieve the goal in secret, and your partner will be unpleasantly surprised when they find out.
Instead, trust that your partner will respect you and your goals. This can be easier said than done, but relationships should be built on trust. Besides, your partner will be trusting you to respect their goals, so don't be afraid to open yourself to them.
This doesn't just apply to setting your financial goals. If you made a major purchase, don't try to downplay how much it cost. Also, if you get into debt, bring it up as soon as possible. Financial secrets can destroy relationships, so be as honest as possible, even if the truth is going to hurt.
3. Create Separate Accounts and one Joint Account
At first glance, this seems counter intuitive to the advice about not keeping secrets. After all, don't separate checking accounts encourage partners to keep secrets from each other?
While you still want to be honest with your partner, having some financial independence isn't a bad thing. You can still contribute to your shared expenses and goals while still having a significant amount left over for you and your personal goals, especially if you would like to buy some big-ticket items. Just make sure your partner knows what you're planning.
4. Save 10% of Your Paycheck
When you start living together with your significant other, you'll want to start investing in your future together. This is going to mean growing your savings. If you've already started, give yourself a pat on the back.
If you haven't started saving, though, the best way to start is by putting aside 10% of each paycheck. Put it into your joint bank account, preferably the joint account you and your partner own. After your savings has grown to about $500 saved, sit down and figure out your savings goals.
Get Started on the Path to Financial Success With First Alliance Credit Union
While transitioning your finances from a solo endeavor to a team can seem scary, it's not so bad as long as you're open and honest with each other.
If you'd like some help getting your finances set up, talk with a First Alliance Credit Union money navigator today. They'll look over you and your partners' finances, and help both of you come up with a financial strategy that works for you.