Navigating Finances as a Couple

Three things to consider when dealing with money in the context of a relationship.

Starting Out

Early in your relationship, it’s smart to have a conversation about your respective spending and saving habits. This will help determine whether you want joint or individual checking accounts, as well as other banking arrangements. This is also a good time to discuss debt, prenuptial agreements, and what your savings goals are.

 

Day-to-Day Finances

Designate one person in the family as the bookkeeper, but be sure to keep the other party involved. If something happens to the bookkeeper and the other person has no idea what’s going on, it could be trouble. Also consider whether you’d like to hire a financial planner. (Keep in mind that you don’t need to have a lot of money to take this step.) A professional can offer direction with investments, getting out of debt, and filing taxes.

 

Long-Term

A financial planner can also help with long-term goals, such as saving enough for the kids’ college education and your retirement. It’s also a good idea to have a conversation with your parents about their estate plans while they’re still healthy enough to make their own decisions.