Personal Finance Tips for New Couples

If you’re getting married or otherwise merging households with someone you’re in a relationship with, you’re probably excited about your new life together and not thinking much about potential conflicts. However, it’s important for you to talk about money even if you don’t plan on sharing finances. The tips below can help.

Going Back

What was your family’s attitude about money when you were growing up? Did they talk about it? Were they spenders or savers? Once you start to think about this, you may be surprised at how much your attitude toward money has been shaped by your family, whether in agreement with or opposition to their approach. You and your partner should discuss these things. Get specific about what you mean when you say things such as spending and saving. This can help prevent misunderstanding later on.

Make a Plan

Will you share a joint account, or keep your money separate? If you’re keeping money separate, what will you do if one of you loses their job or has other financial issues? Do you want to create a prenuptial agreement? Are you moving into a home owned by one of you, and if so, will the other person be added to the mortgage? What will each of you be responsible for paying? Are there any big purchases or projects you need to take on soon? If so, how will you pay for it?

Perhaps you are buying a house together that needs some renovation. You may decide that you want to take out a personal loan from a private lender. It can be easy to find out whether you are eligible and to get an idea of what the repayment plan might be. In general, you should both be explicit as possible in discussing all of these different issues. You may also want to sit down periodically and have a kind of financial check-in talk.

Getting Help

Money can be a complicated minefield of practical and emotional considerations. There’s a reason that it becomes a point of conflict for so many couples and can even lead to divorce. You may want to get more than one type of help when it comes to your financial life as a couple. A good financial advisor can help you make the right choices based on your income and spending goals, help you repair your credit score, show you how to maximize your investments and save for retirement. A counselor can help you talk through fraught money conversations if you are experiencing conflict.

Estate Planning

It’s important to think not just about things like wills and trusts but also about making sure that you each have access to one another’s accounts if one of you becomes incapacitated. Estate planning can also be particularly important if you have children from a previous relationship because you may want to make sure that both your current partner and your children receive some of your assets. This is another tough conversation to have, but like the other money conversations, it is for the best in the long run.

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