While you've likely imagined what a future with your partner looks like, you may not have considered the financial implications of that future. Think: careers, kids, caring for aging parents, and even where you want to live and travel to. In reality, all these things have price tags attached.
Of course, every relationship is different and how each person approaches finances is highly personal. In any case, here are a few things to consider if you're thinking of joining finances with a partner.
Start by identifying your own assets and liabilities. Assets are things you own - your investments, property, salary - and liabilities are things you owe, like rent, mortgage and student loans. Have your partner do the same so you can both be transparent about your financial situation.
Just as when you're managing your personal finances and investments, it's useful to think about your long-term goals and what matters most to you both. Having shared goals can help ensure you have a coordinated approach to saving and spending, and what you need to do to reach them.
There are several ways to join finances, from combining some of your money for shared expenses to combining everything, including income and investments. There's no right one size fits all solution, but rather, it should be dependent on what you're both comfortable with. Consider keeping some financial independence and making sure there's equal control when managing money. If you're unsure what arrangement suits you best, it's always wise to consult a trusted financial adviser.
Once you understand your own financial situation, you can then decide on a budget together or at least have a rough idea of how much you can both afford to spend.
Begin by sorting your monthly spending into categories—housing, dining out, savings, etc. If you notice you're not saving as much as you'd like, you may want to cut back on your spending in other areas.
Keep in mind that you and your partner will need discipline to implement a budget and stick to it, and this may require changes or sacrifices in your everyday life. But don't be afraid to hold each other accountable. If you're trying to save but notice shopping packages piling up on your doorstep, ask each other if you're on the same page about what's needed. The conversations might get tough, but remember this should never feel like it's you versus them. You and your partner are a team working toward a goal.
24 May, 2022
July - September 2020 archive