Combining finances can be one of the stickiest parts of starting a new relationship. While it might not be true that two can live as cheaply as one, it is true that couples can take advantage of economies of scale. For example, there is no need to pay for two houses or apartments. Here are some good pieces of financial advice that can really help couples.
Don’t Keep Secrets
This is especially important when you get married. Both partners need to provide full financial disclosure. Married couples legally share most assets. Unfortunately, they also share debts. Therefore, it’s imperative to get everything out on the table because keeping financial secrets can lead to unnecessary stress on a relationship.
Assess Your Comfort With Risk
Investing is the only way to really grow a nest egg over time unless you’re stashing tens of thousands every year. Not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance. Discussing the acceptable level of risk for each partner is a good way to stay on the same page financially.
Talk About Priorities
Many, if not most, couples will have a saver and a spender. For the spender, a new car or a bigger house might be at the top of the priorities list. For the saver, maxing out a 401(k) or saving for emergencies might take priority. Regardless, it’s a good idea to understand what your partner wants to accomplish with the money your household brings in. Making concessions in some areas can be a great way to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Understand Major Purchases
Coming to an understanding of what constitutes a major purchase is important for couples. Both partners should have a bit of fun money that they do not have to clear with their spouse. Agreeing to what constitutes a major purchase that requires consultation is a smart step to take so that misunderstandings can be avoided. For some, a major purchase might be $50. For others, it might be $1,000. Discussing this with your partner and coming to an agreement can help you avoid a major source of anger and resentment.
Conflict over money is one of the leading causes of divorce. By discussing some of the major areas of possible conflict and by coming up with a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of both spouses, it’s possible to avoid much of this conflict. The earlier you start the discussion over finances with your significant other, the better.