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Love and Money: Financial Planning Considerations for Couples

By Scott Melbrod

Do you enjoy talking about money with your significant other or is it a topic you strive to avoid at all costs? A couples and money survey reveals that 26% of Americans turn a blind eye to the issue of finances in their relationship even though they understand the importance of discussing it. Because of this tension, it’s not surprising that money is the primary reason for arguments between couples, with many couples averaging three fights per month revolving around financial issues. Disagreements about finances are the most common predictors of a future divorce.

Why is it so difficult for money and love to peacefully coexist? For one, finances tend to stir up plenty of emotions and cause stress in everyday life, so couples may try to keep the peace by keeping mum about money. In addition, everyone has their own opinion on how to manage money and most of us also have a unique financial personality. Some of us are savers, some are spenders. Some of us may be conservative, while others are free spirits. These differences can cause friction and discord, which then affects all other aspects of the relationship.

But no matter what the statistics tell us, money doesn’t have to be a stress point in a relationship. Here are a few simple strategies that may help couples avoid financial friction.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

Unfortunately, honesty regarding money isn’t a guarantee in a relationship, 31% of married adults admitting to potentially deceitful financial behavior. It’s important for both partners to offer full disclosure of their finances and be open about expenses, regardless of whether you’re married or you live together, have joint accounts or separate bank accounts. You and your spouse should be aware of how you spend your money, especially when it comes to significant expenses, loans, or ongoing fees. Studies show that around 49% of financial arguments are about unexpected expenses. By maintaining an open line of communication regarding spending habits and upcoming bills, you may be able to avoid such confrontations.

Set Healthy Boundaries

It’s important for couples to be on the same page regarding their finances. Sit down together and discuss how much can be spent per month on non-essentials. Establish and agree upon a few basic guidelines and create a structure for how you will spend and save money. If one of you is more disciplined than the other, you might consider having the disciplined spouse manage the monthly budget and spending.

Prioritize Teamwork

Most often, one spouse acts as the Chief Financial Officer of the household, managing all bills, budgets, savings, investments, and insurance policies. However, it can be helpful for both partners to understand their spending versus their saving. If time allows, sit down together once a month to review credit card statements, account transactions, and other bills and check for any possible errors. Ongoing input from both partners will strengthen your relationship and create a true partnership.

Reward Yourself

Set aside a portion of pocket money that you and your spouse can each spend every month on something you love, whether it’s a massage, a round of golf, or a steak dinner. Along with saving for long-term goals, set small objectives you can reasonably accomplish each month and celebrate your success.

Find An Unbiased Financial Partner

Sometimes the best way to ease money tensions is to work with an objective third-party, whether that’s a financial professional, a marriage counselor, or both. A financial professional can work with you and your spouse to review your financial landscape, identify any gaps in your insurance coverage, assist you in establishing short and long-term goals, help you stay on track, and provide professional and knowledgeable advice.

Although the topic of finance can occasionally cause tension, money doesn’t have to become a constant source of concern in a relationship. Invest the time to address spending habits and savings goals, uphold transparency regarding purchases, and communicate effectively.

At Accumulation Wealth Partners, we offer comprehensive financial planning services that are capable of addressing a wide range of financial circumstances and concerns. We partner with you to see your finances from a holistic point of view, create customized strategies, identify long-term goals and the steps needed to pursue them, and track your progress as you move through life. If you have questions about your financial situation, desire advice or education on investing, or have yet to get started strategically planning for your retirement, I’d be happy to help. Schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call online and start the journey towards financial harmony.

About Scott

Scott Melbrod is the founder and CEO of Accumulation Wealth Partners, an independent wealth management firm in San Diego, CA. Working with a wide array of clients, from families to young Millennials just starting their careers, his mission is to provide impactful and targeted financial advice at a transparent cost to people in their accumulation phase of their lives. With more than 15 years of industry experience, he uses his knowledge to develop for his clients a structured and tailored plan designed to guide them toward financial freedom. Learn more about Scott by connecting with him on LinkedIn or emailing him at scott@accumulationwealth.com.