Sharing Your Finances with a Significant Other

money in relationships

Being single and managing your money is hard enough. Then you throw in a significant other, perhaps one with different financial goals and education, and things can get complicated fast. Both parties in a relationship may know each other extremely well, but have you had the talk? Money can be the sore spot in many relationships, so knowing up front where your significant other stands in regards to money can save you a lot of surprises and possible heartache down the road.

Getting everything out on the table once things start to get serious in a relationship has its foundation in being open and honest in a relationship, and this should not stop when it comes to personal finance. The fact of the matter is that one day your finances will most likely become one, and learning each others’ financial habits sooner than later is wise.

money in relationships

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Perform a Review of Your Finances

The first step in analyzing your finances is to see where all of your money is going. Setting a time to pull out all of your bills, statements, etc allows you to get it all out in the open. Literally laying it all out in front of you and documenting all income and expenses as well as debts is the first step. This is also a good time to organize all of your paperwork and perhaps see what can be consolidated between the two of you.

Determine What Your Joint Goals Are

Before discussing what your joint goals are it is best to write out individually what your personal goals are. Both short and long term goals should be considered in this exercise. After your goals are laid out, perhaps there are a few things that are not necessities that you can also write down.

After you have written out all of your goals and wants, you can look over them with each other. This is the time where you are going to combine goals and assign priorities to them. Discussion can extend around timelines and expectations for when you would like to accomplish everything.

Review New Options for Banking

Having your cash and investments in multiple accounts can lead to much confusion and chaos in your personal finances. After all of your finances are out on the table, is a good time to see what can be consolidated as far as bills, expenses, and accounts. Being in a relationship with someone can have more benefits than just the emotional. Start to brainstorm how you can financially benefit from being together.

Create a Budget for Yourselves

Without a solid budget, none of your financial goals are likely to be met. After brainstorming ways to cut down expenses and work together as a team, you can start to lay out the baseline for your combined budget. Obviously the first step in this is to determine what your combined income is. The next step should be to create realistic goals for what you want to spend in all of your expense categories. Find ways to add to your savings and investment goals. Not only that but you also want to allocate a little fun money that you can use with your significant other in order to have fun together. 

The most important thing to remember is to be honest and open. There is no worse surprise than to find out that your significant other is keeping something from you. Chances are if you are in the position to even consider the smart way to combine your finances, you are smart enough to know that honesty is key.

14 thoughts on “Sharing Your Finances with a Significant Other

  1. Discussing finances openly as a couple is absolutely crucial. You present a team front to tackling all your financial and other problems. Maybe to add, more often that not you will have to work out compromises on what you cannnot agree on…compromise alas is the glue that holds many a couple decisions and keeps everyone happy (somewhat 🙂 )

  2. Performing a review is a great place to begin, Valerie! We love getting gritty with the calculator,pens, pads, budget, etc. Ramit’s book was very helpful a few years back in getting us on the right track. The concept of automation has made the most difference in the ease of our finances. Have a fin afternoon!

  3. While I am a big proponent of talking about finances and working things out as a couple, I am also big on not ever sharing finances or major purchases (like a house) until folks are married. I get that often times, people who buy together eventually get married, but too many people I know have been burned by an asshole partner and since the burned friend wasn’t legally married, they had no protections under the law when the ex ran away with the house, the car, or the checking account funds.

    Once married, I am a huge proponent of joint finances. It’s important for a married couple to be on the same page in regards to finances and while joint accounts don’t work for everyone, I know in my case they are the only thing that works for both of us.

    • Valerie Klim says:

      Good considerations! There is no harm in at least have big bigger discussions over where you stand in terms on personal finance.

    • Valerie says:

      Money is one of the major causes of strife in a marriage. Knowing this and tackling it from the beginning is a good way to avoid any problems that can arise.

  4. Being on the same page financially is so important. So many relationships are strained due to different spending/saving habits. My wife and I never had any formal financial talks before we got married but we both had a very clear picture of each others financial habits. Talking about your finances is key to a healthy relationship!

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