So, your romantic life is going perfectly well. You and your partner have a beautiful relationship. Butterflies are everywhere. The days are brighter than before. Finally, it looks like you have found - THE ONE.
Oh, the joy of being in love…
However, love cannot pay for your kids school fees or pay the landlord when he comes knocking or even put food n the table. So you need to pause and have serious money conversations.
If you've been putting off talking about money with your spouse, call your partner, order good food and drinks and settle down for a date with yourselves and your bank accounts.
Some people develop cold feet toward debt. Others believe debt is good. Even so, no attitude towards money is right or wrong.
That’s why it’s critical to understand each other’s money values before walking down the altar.
To understand each other’s money goals, critically examine what influences your behavior with money.
For example, does your significant other think money is for security, and that’s why they have a strict saving culture? Or do they believe in the You Only Live Once (YOLO) mantra causing them to be overspenders?
Many of our values come down to how each of us was raised. So, during your conversations, ask your partner about their childhood and how their parents managed finances. This can give you insight into their behavior with money.
Read Also: Love and Money: Finacial Infidelity and What it Does.
There’s no one size fits all approach to handling your finances. What important is to find what works for you and stick to it.
Here are some ideas:
Whatever method you use, ensure you’re open about your finances. So even if you have separate accounts, there should be complete transparency.
Read Also: Is Opening a Joint Bank Account A Smart Money Move For Spouses?
Money disagreements can lead to an unhappy marriage. Keep these arguments away by discussing with your partner how you’ll budget your expenditures.
Here’s how you can create a budget as a couple.
After budgeting, stick to the budget you’ve agreed on and track your expenses jointly. This way, you can avoid many common money-related problems since you’ll learn to live within your means.
Read Also: The Ultimate Personal Budgeting Guide.
Now is the time to lay all your financial cards on the table. Yes, it might be difficult for both of you. But you need to understand your finances before planning your expenses.
Besides, if you know what your finances look like, you can discuss your finances objectively without judging one another. But, of course, you’ll also have a few money arguments.
During this conversation, discuss
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Money goals may seem like a mundane thing to talk about, but they can make or break a marriage. Talk about both your future short-term and long-term financial goals.
When you set goals, your spending habits align with your financial plan. Some financial goals to discuss may include:
Also, discuss why these goals are important and how you can overcome any obstacles preventing you from achieving them.
Read Also: Financial Goals to Set for Your Family.
You both need to be on the same page about financial responsibilities. So map out a plan on how to pay bills before getting married.
Here are two standard methods of splitting financial responsibility.
You can sum up all your expenses and have each person contribute 50%. Since it’s split in the middle, it reduces arguments such as who owes each person what. This method is ideal if you have similar income or receive payment on the same day.
On the downside, it doesn’t account for the following:
Using this method, you split responsibilities based on what you earn. For instance, if your partner earns Ksh. 80,000, and you earn KSH 50,000; you can split expenses 60% and 40%, respectively.
The advantage of this method is that it ensures a more equitable distribution. However, it can take time to decide on a percentage split. Besides, it's not an ideal method if you’re paid based on commissions or bonuses.
Read Also: 7 Smart Ways to Manage Finances With Your Partner.
Talk about your financial past, even if you’ve faced challenging financial situations. This understanding can help build trust between partners who may otherwise feel suspicious about working together because they don't know each other’s past.
During these talks, be transparent. Cover-up is always worse than crime.
The excellent news: talking about finances doesn't have to be scary! There are many ways that couples can work through these issues together.
For instance, if you have debt, you can decide whether to pay it as a couple or individually. You can also seek advice from friends, family, or financial advisors.
Read Also: Money Conversations You Must Have With Your Partner.
When you're planning on getting married, discuss your future and how you can protect it. One way to do this is by purchasing life insurance.
Life insurance can cater to your mate's and children's needs if you pass away. This way, your dependents will always enjoy the kind of life you’ve provided.
It's also a good idea to discuss your retirement plan. Planning for retirement can help you enjoy your golden years instead of becoming a burden to your children.
When planning for retirement, factor in how you want to spend your retirement. Your retirement plan can include where you want to live, vacations you’d like to take, or even big-ticket items you’d like to purchase in retirement.
Lastly, have a conversation about how to set up an emergency fund. You need at least six months of your living expenses in your rainy day fund. This will cushion you against eventualities such as job loss, sickness, or funeral expenses.
Read Also: 6 Simple Ways to Jump Start Your Emergency Fund.
This is controversial, but discuss what will happen to your finances if you divorce. While no one likes to think about the possibility of a divorce, it is essential to prepare in advance.
Here’s what to consider when it comes to your finances and divorce:
Consider a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that lays out how you’ll divide your assets in the event of a divorce.
This can be a helpful way to protect yourself financially if you're marrying someone with significant debt or if you have assets that you want to keep separate.
While it is not pleasant to think about, discussing your finances during a divorce is integral to getting married. Being prepared means, you can protect yourself and your finances if your marriage doesn’t work out.
Read Also: Co-Parenting Nightmare: Navigating Money Challenges With your EX.
Having these money conversations can build a strong foundation for your relationship. So make money talks a regular thing. Set regular date nights where you discuss finances, review the status of your goals, and adjust your plans.