Talking finances can be a tough situation. In one respect, you could be concealing yourself in one extreme to the other; hiding that you are secretly wealthy, or are in financial trouble. Whether you are walking down that aisle, have been married for a decade, or are in a serious relationship where you are sharing the finances, it is better to have your affairs in order the earliest you can, so that you can focus on the goal at hand, which could be paying off debt, saving for a house, or making sure that your funds are heading in the right direction come towards retirement. No matter your situation, be out on the lookout for any help you can when it comes to sharing the finances with your significant other.
Don’t Put Off “The Talk” Any Longer
Depending on your financial situation, for good or for worse, there may not be many people that know where you stand, other than maybe an accountant if you have one, but since finances typically do not come up amongst family and friends, when it comes to a significant other, laying everything out on the table must be a priority not to be put off any longer. You should be able to be open from everything from credit score, debt liabilities, to assets, to see where each of your stands so you can come up with a household plan of attack.
Divide Up Responsibilities
Finances come together as a family, meaning it takes more than one person to add money to a bank account, or a credit card, so it should not just be one person making the decisions and paying the bills, putting the stress and burden on the couple, instead of one. So that each of you can be involved, try and divide up some of the responsibilities. One could be conscious of the bank account balance and verify the validity of charges, and maybe the other could focus on paying bills. Something that both of you can see the value in reducing spending and maximizing saving.
Go Over Priorities
What one priority is may not be the other’s, so it is good to ensure that you both are on the same page when it comes to spending and saving goals. Are you looking to save up for a house? What is the timeframe on that? Is your goal to retire at 62, and if so, will the other have to work longer, or will you have enough funds available to retire. Short and long-term goals are a great way to strive for something, but to also check to ensure you are on the right track.
Put a Budget in Place
A great way to reduce unnecessary spending and make sure that you have adequate funds going to not only monthly bills, but also food, gas, and spending. The obvious goal it to have more money coming in then there is going out after you have paid all of the monthly expenses, plus contributed to savings. Your budget will take some tweaking along the way, maybe adding in some areas and reducing in others, it’s no wonder that most of American’s, two-thirds in fact, experts have said, are unable to hold down a successful household budget.
Create a Debt Payoff Plan
If you are in a situation where you have debt, whether it is credit card, personal loan, auto loan, or remaining student loan balance, it is good to come together to figure out when you can rid yourself of this burden. If you are able to pool money together to get rid, that is a lot to ask of the other, but that is great, and then you can figure out that if you make large payments over the course of a set time, you can then be at zero balance and shift priorities to more important things; saving for the future.
Having the financial talk does take guts; it can’t be an easy conversation, so once you have laid it all on the line and start to build out a blueprint to your future, you can begin to go up and running, and what better way to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well-done, celebrate! Not suggesting starting to blow your money, but if you have been smart financially there is nothing wrong with adding value in life experiences to the quality of your life. After all, what fun is saving every dollar you make; you need to enjoy some while you’re young.