How to Manage Your Money as a Couple
It's said money is the No. 1 cause of couples' fights. Whether or not there's empirical data to prove this theory, there's no doubt money is a huge stressor, especially in a relationship. Issues range from navigating financial inequalities and budgeting to communicating and maintaining financial autonomy while still being a team. It takes a plan to work through the challenges.
Talk it through
We all know that communication is the key to managing finances as a couple, but no one teaches us how. And since many of us grew up with money being a taboo topic, and little financial education is provided in schools, where do we even begin? As with many relationship matters, it starts with unabashed honesty, which may include an admission that there are things you don't know but are willing to learn. There's no better way to grow together than to understand each other's starting points, and you can only do that by talking it through.
Rarely do both spouses have equal financial footing and prowess when they meet. This can result in one partner naturally taking on the day-to-day management of finances. Over time, though, that person might end up feeling burdened with paying bills and balancing the books, while the other partner may feel uninformed and powerless.
In the name of a partnership, capitalizing on strengths may mean it's practical for the more adept one to handle money matters. But even if one person is doing the legwork, both partners can be informed and comfortable with the finances.
Try having a monthly financial meeting (it's less daunting with wine and cheese), where you review your accounts together and make decisions about upcoming expenditures. You can even draft a list of financial tasks to be performed and allocate them between the two of you. Once you're in a regular rhythm, these meetings don't have to be long or onerous.
If you're both on the same financial page, you can better support each other through tough times and decrease the chances of one partner inadvertently overspending because he or she is uninformed.