For many couples, money is a sensitive topic. Personal finance is one of the things people don’t like to talk about with others, even their romantic partners. One survey found that 40 percent of couples didn’t discuss money matters before getting married.
But it’s best not to avoid this topic. Money is one of the most common reasons why couples argue and separate. Early on in the relationship, you and your partner need to sit down and talk about your finances. It will benefit your relationship in the long run, especially during your marriage. Below are some money-related topics you need to discuss:
In most states, when a couple gets married, the debts they have prior to tying the knot remain their own. After marriage, they can still take debts and loans individually. Say you purchased a new computer under your name. This is considered your debt. On paper, you’re the one responsible for it and not your partner.
But couples can’t always take individual loans and debts. In one way or another, you are bound to incur joint debt during your marriage. For example, things you buy that benefit both of you equally are your shared financial responsibilities. Some examples include food, your mortgage or rent, utility bills, and so on.
You need to discuss what debts you have to get a better idea about each other’s financial state. You also need to figure out how you will manage and pay your joint debts.
Honesty and transparency are important factors in maintaining a sound marriage and avoiding separation or divorce. It’s also an important factor in handling finances as a couple.
You and your partner need to be honest about your money habits as they can affect your financial health as a couple. It would be best if you determined what “personality” you have when it comes to money. For instance, are you a spender or a saver? Do you like to plan and record every income and expense? How much of an impact does your mood have on your spending?
Knowing your personality type when it comes to finances will help you create robust plans to ensure your financial security and stability.
If you want kids, family planning is a must. And in this process, you must also look at the financial implications of raising children.
Raising a child is indeed expensive. In 2015, a middle-income couple would have to spend around $233,610 to raise a child to 17. This cost includes food, clothes, education (excluding college), and other necessities.
If you still want to have a child regardless of the cost, you will need to plan how you will handle your finances to afford to raise a child. You might also need to list down things you need to sacrifice and things you must do to save money and be financially ready for a child.
One way to grow your hard-earned money is to invest. But investing is risky. You may earn or lose money depending on market fluctuations. But in the same way, the earning potential is high. Although, this will depend on your risk tolerance.
If you and your partner plan to invest as a couple, you will have to discuss your risk tolerance with each other. Do you like playing it safe, or do you prefer being aggressive to increase your chance of high returns? Having an opposite risk tolerance with your partner can cause conflicts.
It may be wise to consult a financial adviser to help you and your partner manage your portfolio. Or, if you plan to manage things on your own, make sure to discuss investment plans and make decisions together.
Retirement is also part of finances. When you retire, you won’t have a steady source of money as you do when employed and receiving a paycheck.
The cash flow will be different, which is why it’s important to plan. This is because time is of the essence when it comes to investing for your retirement. There are many factors to consider in creating this plan. For example, will you need to downsize once you retire? If so, where will you stay after selling your home? Will your life insurance and retirement savings be enough to keep you afloat when both of you are no longer employed?
Money matters may be difficult to discuss at first. But it’s inevitable. It’s also crucial to have regular financial discussions as it can contribute to the stability of your relationship in the long term.