For couples, budgeting is often the last conversation that many have when combining households. Contrary to popular belief, talking with your significant other about budgeting can be the glue that holds the relationship together- when everything fits in place.
Recently, our partners at Enterprise Bank hosted a “Budgeting for Couples” Lunch and Learn in the Office of Financial Empowerment. Over the lunch hour, participants received practical tips from a banking professional about how to discuss budgeting with your significant other.
For a successful conversation about budgeting, couples should incorporate these tips:
Talk openly about money before you commit to a long term relationship, especially marriage. When you have the initial conversation about a committed relationship the next conversation should be about your financial situation. Do you have savings for emergencies and retirement? What is your credit score? What kind of debt do you have and how much?
Define shared goals. After agreeing to a long term relationship, establish goals for budgeting, saving for retirement, and paying of debt. When both individuals in the relationship understand the goals and plan to achieve the goals, then there will be a feeling of partnership that you are working towards financial well-being as a team.
Respect each other’s money skills. You may be good at budgeting, while your partner can save well because s/he goes without Starbucks or going to restaurants. Embrace each other’s strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that works for your relationship.
Don Luczak, a Treasurer’s Office employee, heard about the Lunch and Learn through the city’s weekly emails, and said he and his wife for more than 30 years are open about their financial situation. After sitting down and creating a plan, they agreed that his wife reviews the bills when they come in the mail and he pays the bills. While Don and his wife have a plan that works for them, Don believes that there is room for improvement. Moving forward, he wants to make sure that his wife is aware of how the bills are paid and the passwords for online accounts in case of emergencies.
As Don identified, talking about budgeting can be beneficial whether you are a new couple or have been married for years.