Couples & Finances : Communication is Essential

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April is Financial Literacy Month and it is the perfect time to assess your own financial knowledge along with helping those around you with theirs.  Every person has distinct ideas of what money means to them.  Does money help you create a legacy or is it the vehicle through which you define your life’s goals?  Are you inherently a saver or a spender – and can you balance between the two?  Do you have a clear budget that you adhere to?  All of these things matter to you, but they may matter more to your relationships.

Couples often are reluctant to share their financial history with their significant other.  Many are afraid that they will be judged for their past financial decisions.  Be honest about your financial past.  Student and personal loans and revolving credit card debt are important to discuss, especially since it will impact your combined finances.  Also, some couples do not disclose assets to each other – either checking & savings accounts, credit cards, or retirement accounts.  It is advisable to make your spouse aware of your finances for two reasons –  it may solidify a stronger relationship based on trust and understanding and it can help to prevent potentially larger issues in the future.

Oftentimes, couples have different ideas and values regarding spending and saving, and at times, they have difficulty expressing those ideas in a clear way.  Sometimes, they may even refrain from discussing financial matters.  For example, hiding purchases in shame might be a good indication that these purchases are NOT good financial choices.  And lastly, couples sometimes have different goals for their money which could cause a riff in how exactly money gets spent and allocated.  Try to find shared financial goals for you both AS A COUPLE and remove the emotions from your money decisions.  Avoid thinking of money as “yours and mine”.  Focus on discovering combined goals and how best to achieve them.  Being on different pages about the use of your finances can be harmful to a relationship.

Finances can be a difficult topic to discuss.  It is easy to come across as judgmental.  Impartiality is KEY.  That is where a good Financial Planner can help get you both on track and clear any misconceptions or misunderstandings.

Here’s Yandie Liautaud to discuss more….