We all know being in a relationship takes work. Even the best of them require compromise, and learning about the other person to ensure you can live harmoniously together. It makes sense, you’re two complete individuals with many different life experiences that have shaped you into the person you are today. For all of the commonalities, there are usually plenty of differences too, and managing that is what takes work on a continual basis to make the relationship work.
One of the toughest areas for many couples is money management.
Most of us have a relationship with money that is vastly influenced by how we were raised, not to mention the fact that naturally we all value slightly different things. In a relationship oftentimes the big picture values are the same, the long term view of where you’re headed together, while many times the smaller things are quite different.
As an example, both Finn and I are on the same page about where we want to be living in 5 and 10 years, and what we want our lifestyle to look like. What we’re not on the same page about is little things like the fact that I love to go to my local cafe in the mornings, and sit and have a coffee. He thinks it’s a waste of money when there’s coffee at home.
It’s often this small stuff that you can find yourselves arguing about, or silently frustrated at the other person.
The good news is, there’s a pretty simple way for couples who share financial resources, to make money work for them in a way that doesn’t cause conflict in the relationship.
Separate your personal spending
One of the key cash-flow management strategies we use at WE, and core to our Get Rich Slow philosophy, is the separation of your weekly personal spending from your other money that’s to be used for bills, savings and investments. Your personal spending is transferred weekly into your spending account and that’s what you use each week to cover things like dining out, gifts, groceries and getting around, essentially all of the stuff you spend on a day to day basis (you can read more about the personal spending concept and how I survive on $250 a week here).
For couples, we recommend you each have your own allocation of personal spending deposited into your individual bank accounts. This way you have discretion over how you spend your weekly allocation, and you have no reason to argue about it, provided you each stick to this amount.
When the rest of your cashflow is automated to pay all of your bills, and save and invest regularly toward your goals, then it doesn’t matter what you each spend that small weekly allocation on at all because you both have peace of mind that your long term goals are being met.
This tip alone may single handedly save your relationship one day (trust me.. if Finn ever gives me a hard time about spending money on delicious hot coffee, I just smile, give him the middle finger and walk away! He quickly remembers that IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!), however for good measure I’ve included two more quick tips that’ll ensure you’re living in harmony together when it comes to your cash.
Set goals together
Knowing what you’re saving and investing for is critical to financial success and staying motivated to ensure you don’t dip into those savings. As a couple, it’s really important to set these savings and investment goals together so that you’re aligned with the bigger picture. We’re big believers generally in aligning your wealth planning to your goals, and not just saving or investing for the sake of it. As a couple you want to spend the time planning together, and then ensure your financial plan will meet these goals for your future.
Knowing where you’re going together and that you have a plan to make it happen is both exciting and will keep you in alignment during the day to day.
Work together with a professional
Nobody taught me back at Uni that part of my role as a financial advice professional would be couples counselling and mediation. This is no joke, and once I got into the real world working with people to build and manage their wealth, I worked out I needed to hone my skills in this area quick smart.
Working together with a financial adviser gives you a safe space to talk about your finances, air anything that is challenging you and (more excitingly) provides you with dedicated time together to map out what your future looks like, and start working toward it.
If you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level, when it comes to money and your future, book in today for a FREE 1 hour Financial Kickstart session with a qualified Financial Coach. AT WE we’ve combined financial advice with life coaching to ensure that you have the accountability and advice to make your dream life a reality.
Article by Sarah Riegelhuth
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.