For many money can be a source of contention in a relationship. A recent study found that 44% of partners still argue about money, at least occasionally. However, this doesn't have to be the case.There are plenty of ways to use money to build your relationship and make it stronger. We spoke with experts who shared their advice on doing just that.
Get a Joint Account but Keep Your Own Account
You don't have to share every single checking and savings account with your partner. Sharing all bank accounts can lead to arguments over who pays for what and how much money each person should be contributing. Instead, consider getting a joint bank account that you both use for shared expenses like rent/mortgage payments, groceries and household bills.
Michael Ryan, Financial Advisor and founder of Michael Ryan Money says "Agree how much each will contribute to the joint account each month. And who is responsible for paying the joint bills each month. This step alone avoids most fights because all joint bills are paid, and the split is agreed upon in advance.”
He continues “Having a separate account as well as a joint account allows you to spend “your” money however you would like, without the feeling guilty. How much you share about those accounts is entirely up to you. Lastly, this allows you as a couple to ease your way into entirely joining your finances together, when you are both comfortable."
Create Accountability and Trust
When it comes to money, couples need to create a system of accountability and trust. This means being honest with each other about your spending and saving habits, as well as discussing your financial goals for the future.
"Trusting each other who should be responsible for your spending and savings, and of course, being accountable for your choices can help your relationship and finances thrive.” says Sam Whittaker a relationship expert and editor at Mantelligence. He Continues "Having an open mind is integral in talking about finance. Couples should be able to speak out their minds about their financial plans to expect the other person to listen."
Understand There isn't a one Size Fits all Solution
We all have different money personalities and what works for one couple may not work well for another. For example, some couples like to split everything 50/50 while others prefer a 70% / 30% ratio where the higher earner pays more of their shared expenses than the lower earner. The important thing is that you find what works best for you and your partner.
"Everyone's situation differs. One of the best solutions to accomplish this, is to have a judgement-free conversation," says Andrew Lokenauth a financial expert.
He continues "Trust and being fair with one another is very important. It’s key to discuss finances truthfully and regularly. Also, keep one another's point of view in mind, and not be dismissive. An excellent way to avoid fights about finances, is to track spending. This is great for transparency, as you are able to see where the money is going."
According to featured finance expert Angela Holliday you may need to be patient to find the right solution for you.
She says "You need to be prepared to have more than one conversation. Set rules up front – how long you’ll talk about finances? What topics will you discuss? If things turn negative, you can move on and pick it back up another day."
Set Savings Goals Together
Savings goals are a great way to work together as a team and build your relationship at the same time. When you have something to save for, both of you will be more motivated to stick to your budget and avoid unnecessary spending.
"Each partner should write out their goals in order of importance." says Melanie Musson who is a personal finance expert with Clearsurance.com.
She continues "Then, you should share that list with the each other and identify similar goals. These shared goals should build the foundation for the rest of your goals."
Callisto Adams, Ph.D. Dating & Relationship Expert of Hetexted believes communication is key, she says "Set an amount that’s not going to be a burden for any of you. Something that sounds fair, and an amount you’re both happy with. If one of you isn’t feeling it very much, then try again to find a common ground instead of just going for it.The dissatisfaction slowly builds up and it can turn into resentment towards the other partner."
Work as a Team to Pay off Debt Faster
Finally if you and your partner have debt, plan to pay it off sooner rather than later. It can lead to stress which may cause you to fight over money. One way to solve this is to come up with a plan where both of you contribute more than the minimum payment towards your debts every month.
Ashley Johnson, finance expert and founder of Frugalish Family Finance says "debt planning for couples is to work as a team. When you enter into marriage, the money goes into all one pot. Whether you come into the marriage with debt or a nest egg, it becomes a team thing. To pay off debt, I suggest a debt snowball method because it makes the debt more manageable”
She continues “Start with the smallest debt first and work your way up to the largest sum. As you start to pay off your debt, the money you pay toward debt gets bigger and bigger. Seeing those small wins as you pay off the smallest sum keeps you motivated and willing to push through."
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This article was produced by MeMoreMoney and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.