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Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Money Managing Tips

Four powerful tips for managing money together

Veronica in Houston, Texas:
"Our wedding is in three weeks. We are both 28 years old and have lived together for two years. We make equal incomes and work about the same number of hours, but I seem to take care of all the financial aspects of our relationship. I feel burdened with this and concerned that once we have a mortgage and kids, this will get worse. Since he doesn’t know what’s going on with the check balancing and bill paying, how can I get my fianc├ę interested and involved in our finances without damaging our relationship?"

Here are four ideas for more effectively managing your money together:

Divide financial tasks If you have a joint checking account, decide who will be responsible for balancing the account. Decide who will do the monthly budgeting and who will compile the information for year-end tax preparation. Who best understands and manages joint investment accounts? In deciding how to share the responsibilities, think about personal preference, reliability, and skill with each task. If one spouse tends to do most of the financial paperwork, then the other might take on additional duties around the house.  

Make joint decisions Independent financial decisions that affect the both of you are not acceptable in most healthy relationships these days.

Understand that spending and money profiles are formed early and are now habits. These habits are compounded by a myriad of experiences. Whatever budget goals you develop, they must embrace and allow for both your spending style and your spouse’s. For example, if you have a shoe fetish and regularly spend $100 a month at a shoe boutique, keep the habit that gives you joy, just fit it into your budget. You might change where you shop. You can get those cute summer flip-flops for $20.00 at Target or J.C. Penney’s, and you just saved $80 a month.

If your spouse’s attitude is different from yours when it comes to money, that doesn’t mean it is wrong, just different.  

Lastly, schedule a regular weekly or monthly meeting to discuss finances or update each other. Set a time limit, stay focused on the subject at hand, stay objective. When you've finished, reward yourselves with a movie, dinner out, or something you both consider fun and within your budget.

We all learned many sad lessons from September 11, 2001. Among them was how difficult it has been for the spouses left behind to deal with family finances. One young widow I saw interviewed on television didn’t know where the mortgage and car payment books were, or who the payments needed to go to. Sadly, she also learned there was no life insurance. They were newlyweds in their twenties, and they thought they had time.

It is so important for you both to know about and be involved in the financial aspects of your relationship.

Additional Information on this topic

Read Earlier Articles
Editorial Calendar & Monthly Budget Worksheet
Important Financial Help Websites and Phone Numbers

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