Is it true that money and romance don’t make good bedfellows? Seems like it. Many couples identify money problems as a source of tension in their relationship. In an effort to pour oil over troubled waters, we’ve put together a guide to financial planning throughout some of the key stages of any relationship. The couple that saves together stays together.
Financial planning and your relationship
In the beginning years of any relationship, it can seem like the last thing either of you wants to talk about is money. You’re enjoying getting to know each other, and want to believe only the best of each other, right? Money seems too trivial, or commonplace. While this is understandable, it’s when you start to seriously consider your partner as a long-term prospect that it’s important to have a conversation about how to structure your finances. For example, when you’re thinking about moving in together can be a great time to bring the subject up, as you’re about to have shared responsibilities for the first time.
Discuss whether you plan to keep all your banking separate, whether you wish to combine it all, or meet somewhere in between. A great way to show your commitment to each other while still maintaining some level of independence for comfort is to open a joint savings account but still keep your individual everyday accounts. This lets you pool resources for a common goal, like a holiday or housing deposit, while still being able to manage the majority of your money personally.
Managing marriage and money
Any successful, lengthy marriage will hopefully be filled with challenges for you to overcome together. Financially speaking, you’ll be able to achieve anything together, so long as you are able to have honest and frank conversations about money with your partner.
A major frustrating behaviour couples identified in a partner was being careless with money, so if you and your partner are going to plan a wedding together, start a business, or even start an emergency savings fund, it’s vital that trust exists between the two of you when it comes to money.
Balancing a young family and finances
Once we introduce children into any relationship, the stakes are raised. You now no longer have just yourselves to care for, so financial planning, budgeting and reliability all become paramount.
Having kids brings with it a massive amount of joy, but like with any major life change, there are lots of expenses you may not have considered. This can be big things like upgrading your house and/or car to make room for baby, down to little things like healthcare, food, clothing and toys. Combine this raised level of family expenses with the likelihood that one partner is on reduced/zero income whilst on parental leave, and the need for financial trust and communication only intensifies.
Something many couples also may not consider is the fact that their relationship as a couple may change in ways they can’t anticipate once kids come along. With all the running around and caring for a little one’s needs, it can be all too easy to take your partner for granted. As time passes, the little things like birthday and anniversary gifts can often become an afterthought. Make sure you and your partner take the time to actively appreciate one another, and the work you do every day to make your home a happy place to be.