Two of the major milestones that you will encounter in life are cohabitation with a significant other and marrying a significant other. You may be perfectly matched with your significant other in just about every aspect of life, but that doesn't mean that you will be when it comes to the financial side of things. More than likely, as you and your love were dating and getting to know each other, you didn't talk about your debt and how you spend your money. However, it is important that finances be discussed at some point or another — sooner rather than later, in fact. As long as you and your significant other can come to an agreement in terms of finances, it is possible to lead a happy life together.
Tip #1: Work Together to Create a Budget.
Your first order of business as a couple is to create a budget. An easy way to do this is to use a spreadsheet like Excel or a budgeting program/app. You will need to take note of all of your expenses, in addition to all of your income. Make sure that you review all of these on a regular basis so that you can update it when needed. If you have a certain goal that you need to reach, such as saving for a home, you may need to change something in your budget to help reach that goal. For example, you may need to reduce the amount of money that you spend eating out.
Tip #2: Maintain Both Names on Bills.
Often, all the household bills, such as the electric, water, etc., are in one person's name. Unfortunately, if the relationship goes sour, then the other individual may find it difficult to get an apartment, loan, or a car due to having to re-establish their credit.
Tip #3: Take the Time to Discuss Splitting.
While you probably don't want to talk about it, it is very important to have the "break-up" discussion toward the beginning of your relationship. You need to discuss what each one of you will keep, should you part ways. For example, who will keep the house, car, business, investments, etc.? This will helps make things much less hostile and stressful on both of you in the event of an uncoupling down the road.
Tip #4: Talk to a Financial Advisor.
As life partners, it can be difficult to know how to tackle your finances — the good and the bad. If you need guidance, reach out to a professional financial advisor at a company like Harwood Financial Group. A qualified financial advisor can assist you in laying the groundwork to achieving your financial goals, like owning a home and enjoying a fulfilling retirement.
When my card was declined at the grocery store a few months ago, I realized my financial situation had hit rock bottom. Instead of ignoring the problem, I decided to meet with a financial counselor to see what I could do to make things better. I talked with him about how to handle unplanned expenses and how to budget for my day-to-day life. It was incredible to learn more about money, and now I can proudly say I am living within my means. I decided to make this blog for anyone that struggles with financial planning so that you can turn things around.