By now you’ve had time to ring in the new year with your sweetheart, take down the holiday decorations, and hit reset on your 2019 goals. When it comes to planning for the new year, many people don’t think of adding financial goals to the list, especially if it means discussing money with a partner. Over the decades, money has become less taboo, but there is still work to do when it comes to making money mainstream. Being open about your finances with the people you care about most is important, and it’s vital if you’re hoping to have a thriving relationship. This isn’t something we’ve been taught in school, and many couples aren’t used to talking about these things. But it’s 2019, and it’s time to break the stigma!
4 ways to plan financially with your sweetheart:
- Lay all the cards out on the table.
Be open with each other. Chances are you share all aspects of your life with your significant other, and it’s important to be honest about your finances. Set up a money date with your significant other and lay everything out. Talk about your assets and your liabilities, be compassionate to each other, chances are you’ve both made money mistakes in the past, and commit to discussing your finances on a monthly basis (at a minimum). Once you’ve laid it out, it’s important to talk about your values, what things are important to each of you, and if your values line up. One example – if home ownership is something you both aspire to, commit to cutting expenses for a few years to be able to achieve this dream together. This can seem like a lot, but is a huge step in the right direction. The only thing left to do is celebrate with a glass of wine!
2. Set a savings goal together
Whether it’s a trip, or a Kitchenaid mixer (like my then boyfriend now husband and I saved for), set up a savings goal together. If you’re like my husband and I, when we started talking intimately about finances we didn’t have a joint chequing account. So we went about saving for our mixer the old fashioned way. They were less trendy back then, but we used a mason jar to sock away spare change, tips and small cash windfalls until we hit our $300 savings goal. It was a pretty good feeling for two students! Almost a decade later we still use that mixer on a weekly basis.
3. Open a savings account
If you’ve done all of the above and you feel confident you can trust your significant other financially, it might be time to open a bank account that you can both contribute to. It’s important to talk about expectations when it comes to this point, especially if you are choosing to live together. There are many different ways couples choose to split the bills, often on a proportion of income. A discussion based around what each individual earns and what they will contribute will help set expectations and smooth out the financial road ahead.
4. Create a long term money vision
Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to think about the future when it comes to your finances. You’ll need to discuss marriage plans, children, and what kind of retirement you both want. This will inform how you spend, save, and invest your money long term. You should both aim to check in on your long-term plan once a year to make sure that you’re still on track, and your finances are lining up with your values.
I’m the founder of JanineRogan.com a financial literacy resource that helps professionals master their money. I’m a CPA and tax specialist and over the years I have dedicated countless hours to sharing my knowledge through writing and speaking. I am passionate about educating people about their money so they can use it as a tool instead of having it cause stress in their life. Building wealthy habits is important early on, and understanding your values will help you make the best decisions for your money.