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POWER COUPLE’S GUIDE TO MANAGING MONEY 

Opposites attract. This is both a positive and a negative. On the one hand, it’s great to find some that completes you—someone that fills in your flaws and keeps you entertained because you never know what’s coming. On the other hand, opposites unfortunately also eventually clash. Whether that be in planning a weekend trip or deciding on what restaurant to visit next week. And no place is this more apparent than when it comes to managing money as a couple. You thought it was hard enough to narrow down your priorities, create a budget for yourself, and stick to it, try doing all that while balancing two different people’s competing priorities. That’s when you get the condescending comments of “Why do you need that? You already have a dress.” Or the spouse that tiptoes around the other hide their most recent purchase to try to limit a potential comments from the other. Or maybe you and your spouse have just agreed to disagree and, thus, you don’t ever talk about finances…ever. Whatever the situation if it’s not one of unity it’s not a healthy situation to maintain. Why? Because marriage means uniting together because you understand that you are a stronger unit when you operate cohesively as opposed to separately. This is all the more true with money. So while cooperating on finances is difficult, it can be done and here are the solutions I’ve found most helpful for my clients:

Come Together

First you have to come together to establish what your priorities are as a couple. What do you both consider really important that you want to save for in the future. Is it being able to travel abroad twice a year or maybe saving up to put a downpayment on your first home. Whatever it is you have to iron out your goals together so you can start building the plan for how you’re going to get there.

Play To Your Strengths

Usually there is one spouse that loves managing the money. They pay the bills, they manage the investments, and manage the budget. Meanwhile the other spouse is willfully in the dark because they could care less about the inner workings of their personal finance as long as there is money left at the day for them to spend. This is not the best way to run one’s finances. One spouse inevitably becomes stressed because they feel like the have to police the other’s spending and the other feels like they are being treated like a child. What’s worse is if anything should happen to the one managing the money the surviving spouse is often left clueless about how to manage their current finances.

The better solution is to continue to play to your strengths but to work as a team. So this means money loving spouses teach your counterpart how you manage the household finances so that they understand how everything works. Non-finance geek spouses weigh in on how your finances are managed so that your final budget isn’t something that is merely forced upon you but something that you two mutually agree upon.

You Don’t Always Have To Agree

Even though you’re married, you live under one roof and share the same bed, you are still two different people. And thus, you have to plan for your differences because those differences mean that you won’t always agree on what money should be spent on because your priorities are different. She may really like to indulge on nice shoes while you like to go duck hunting on the weekends. The way to plan for this is to build that right into your monthly budget. Draft out a weekly amount that you can each spend on whatever you want. This will still help you to accomplish your larger future goals while giving you some breathing room so you don’t feel like you have to agree on everything you spend money on.

But Know When Agreement Is Needed

Even though you and your spouse are different people you both need to establish a rule about when you need to check in with each other before making a major purchase. This is any purchase that would go beyond your individual weekly spending or any savings you’ve saved up from that. So you can’t come home and say “Honey I just bought a boat.” Big expenses like that need to be discussed and agreed upon so you two can decide together if it’s worth the financial priority.

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