Do not under-estimate the importance of having a common approach to dealing with money. As your relationship evolves you will see patterns emerging with some financial differences and similarities. Do not ignore them but be attentive to them as we all have different approaches to handling money. However, as a couple it is important to bridge the divide and move to a common ground when it comes to spending, investing and giving.
A few tips that might help are
- Think As a Unit
A common pitfall in many a household is when there is no unity in dealing with the aspects of managing finances. You are sharing your future and must start thinking as a unit. Thinking as a unit means that you will have to combine your finances and think about how to handle them together. If one of you refuses to combine resources you are setting yourselves up for more serious problems in the not so distant future.
Start thinking as a unit and do not let your money ruin your relationship.
- Make Smart Choices
If you are spending too much on rent rethink where you are living; maybe you have too much house and can downsize. If you are spending too much on fuel, maybe you have to rethink your idea of owning two cars. Can one car work for the family? Is one of you spending too much on clothes or entertainment? Maybe they need to be given a set amount each month and once this money is gone they can have no more.
The choices you make together and separately will be very important in helping you achieve your goals so make smart choices.
- Save Together
Take a look at where the bulk of your money is going and find ways to decrease the spending or increase income. Identify a major goal and start saving towards it together. Does one of you want to go back to college? Do you want to start a business? Do you want to have a cash reserve for emergencies? Explore and research the offers out there and see if one of them will work for you. Maybe all you need to start you off right now is a simple deposit account. So agree on the amount to deposit and open the account.
Determine what you want together and then look for the best saving option or investment.
- Plan Your Retirement
The day will come believe you me when you will retire and the best way to enjoy your retirement it to start planning for it now. The good habits and small changes you make now in the way you manage your finances will serve you well in retirement. You are meant to be enjoying, relaxing and taking it easy. Not stressing over bills and grocery money. Start planning for your retirement now by keeping abreast of your firm’s policy on retirement and by researching the other options for saving for the future (which could be via an investment or opening an account).
Have an exit plan even though it is or seems years away.