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Honey, can we talk money? A guide to couple budgeting

December 29, 2022
Couple doing their budgeting and financial planning together

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A recent study found that couples who combine their finances have a better chance of long-lasting love.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that if you pool your money now, you'll be together forever. Rather, it means you need to communicate openly and clearly with your partner to understand how you handle finances and how to adapt to one another's preferences.

Financial talk can be a whole can of worms though, so you need to go about it carefully. Here's your guide to couple budgeting so you and your partner can have a secure financial future.

When to talk finances

Obviously, if you're in the beginning stages of dating, then you shouldn't have too serious a talk about finances. However, it's still a good idea to get a feel for how responsible your love interest is with money, and if it aligns with your views.

For example, maybe you like to enjoy a few drinks and nights out every week, but you're still putting a decent amount into your savings. But if the person you're dating doesn't have any savings and spends frivolously without a plan, then you might want to reevaluate things.

When you've settled down and are in a serious and stable relationship, it's ideal to talk about finances a year into living together. Another good time to discuss money is before you get engaged.

What to talk about finances

When talking about your finances, many people mistakenly think the only topic to cover is your bank account balance. But there's so much more to couple budgeting than this!

Here are a few topics you should go over.

Savings

Someone may not have much in their checking account, but their savings is a whole other story, and vice versa. So it's important to see how much is in both.

You may have thought that your partner is extremely frugal because they don't have money in the bank. But if you have an honest and open discussion, you might find yourself surprised to find out that they're saving hard for their nest egg.

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Investments

More and more people are investing, and they're doing so at younger ages too. Not to mention, cryptocurrencies have been a huge craze (320 million people in the world use cryptos), so chances are, you or your significant other has that type of investment too.

So, in addition to your savings, you need to account for your investments too, whether that's stocks or cryptos.

Debts

While in most cases, you aren't legally responsible for your spouse's debt incurred before marriage, any debt they have will still affect your future. For instance, if they have a debt of over $100,000, then they'll have a harder time getting a mortgage with you or paying for some of the funner things in life.

A look at what debt your partner has and what they're from can also tell you if they'll be responsible with your shared finances or not.

Lifestyles

Differing lifestyles mean that you'll value some stuff above others, and this might clash with your partner's views. For example, if you're a foodie and they're not, then they might not want to spend thousands at restaurants a month.

Figuring out your unique lifestyles and what matters to each person can help you budget better. Respecting each other's interests and allowing money for those things will make your relationship stronger.

Future plans and goals

Knowing what you're aiming for will make budgeting and saving much easier. It can help you make a more realistic household budget too.

For instance, you might both currently have fantastic careers. But your SO says they want to strike out on their own instead of working for a boss in a few years' time. Because you've already discussed it, you'll be prepared for this since you'll both save extra money and cut back expenses to make their dreams come true.

How to talk about finances

Money is a touchy subject, so the most important thing is to be completely honest and respectful. Otherwise, there's no solid foundation for your relationship.

You should also be able to agree to disagree. You might not understand or agree with a financial decision your SO's making, but you should be able to come to a mutual solution.

In addition, you should focus on one another's strengths. If you're the more responsible one, then you should take care of the joint bills. But your partner can reciprocate by talking you out of impulse buys if they're the more rational one.

Playing to one another's strengths can make your finances rock solid.

The next steps

Now that everything's out in the open, you should hopefully understand one another better. With a clear picture of the finances (and debt) you have now, and what you're working toward, you'll have better peace of mind about your financial future.

Be clear about what each person's responsible for and how you'll handle large purchases. For instance, you might want to instill a "ask/clear it with your partner first" rule for any purchases over $100.

And if you decide that combined finances is the way to go, then you can sign up for a joint account from bunq.

Get couple budgeting right

Couple budgeting can be tough to navigate. But if you can get it right, you'll come out of it stronger. Not only will you know your partner better, but you'll also have a clearer picture of the road ahead.

So put our budgeting tips to good use and see your relationship thrive.

Are you ready to combine your finances and get a joint account? Then sign up with bunq today!

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