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Ready to talk finances with your sweetie?

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Laura KampsIf the topic of money is the “elephant in the room” in your relationship, you’re not alone. (See our article, “BIG issue, small talk” to learn how starting a financial conversation with your partner can help manage this typically weighty issue.)

However, open, honest communication is just as important with finances as any other partnership decision. And that’s an essential first step to take before you can move forward to make a financial plan.

If you’re ready to talk it out, we have a few helpful tips for you.

First step: Understand each other

  • How did your parents handle their household finances?
  • When did you start paying your own bills? Did you ever run into trouble with debt?
  • Are you a spender or saver?
  • What stresses you the most about money?
  • How do you define “needs” versus “wants”?
  • What is your most important financial goal?

Second step: Make a plan

  • Decide who should handle the finances.
  • Determine whether you will have separate or joint accounts.
  • Work out who will pay what and how much. Make sure both of you are happy with the plan.
  • Develop a strategy to balance saving against spending.
  • Agree upon some short-term and long-term financial goals.
  • Set rules on when you need to discuss a purchase together.
  • Create a written budget. Member Benefits recommends using one and revisiting it every year.

Resources to help you

Laura Kamps, RIS Specialist