5 Important Money Conversations to have with Your Spouse
Valentines Day is coming up and nothing says love more than healthy finances.
Fighting with your spouse is never ideal, especially with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. Sadly, a 2021 American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) survey found that 73% of cohabiting couples say that financial decisions are a source of tension in their relationship. To help avoid unnecessary money fights and to keep your paramour happy leading up to the most romantic day of the year, keep reading for some money conversations you need to have with your spouse.
What’s our current debt situation and how do we want to handle it?
Not all debt is bad—it’s understandable that most people need to take out a mortgage. But some debt like high-interest credit card debt or private student loans can really start to take their toll on your bank account and marriage. If you have debt that you need to pay down, it’s important to get on the same page as a couple so you can work as a team to pay it off. Sit down and take stock of how much debt you have (even if you accumulated it separately before getting married). Then make a plan for how you’ll work together to pay it off.
What are our savings goals?
Everyone has their own list of financial priorities and as a couple, it’s important to make sure your priorities line up. Each of you can separately write down what your top three savings goals are and rank them from most important to least important. Then swap lists and talk about why you chose the goals you did. Understanding each other’s financial motivations is a key step towards being able to support each other as you work towards those goals. One of you may be more concerned with saving for retirement, while the other may want to focus on building college funds for the kids. Make a plan to work towards all of your savings goals in a way that respects each other’s priorities.
How do we want to spend our money?
It’s easy to see how a difference in spending habits can lead to fights, especially if one partner likes to spend and the other likes to save or make extra debt payments. Run through your budget together and determine how much money you have to spend on non-essentials each month. You may want to choose an amount you can’t spend without consulting your spouse first (like any purchase over $500) so that way there aren’t any surprise charges on the credit card statement that can lead to fights.
Are we comfortable lending money to family and friends?
If a day comes that you or your spouse are approached by a friend or family member looking to borrow money, how do you intend to handle it? Are you willing to lend to family, but not friends? Is there a certain lending threshold you won’t surpass? Do you need to decide together privately on a case by case basis? This is a sensitive issue for all parties involved, so make sure you and your spouse are prepared to handle these requests as a united front.
Do you and your spouse need helping getting on the same page financially? Let’s chat about how we can support you through this journey!