NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Couples and Money

Couples and Money


Having a spouse or partner by your side can be a great help in achieving financial stability and retirement readiness, but that also means talking about money, coming to agreements on how to earn and spend money and then following through. Below are some tips on how to make talking about money as productive as possible.


Learn to have fun without a lot of money. A bike ride, walk in the park, home-cooked meal, free concert, or ice cream cone are just a few of the opportunities available to enjoy time with your special someone without spending a lot of money.


Discuss your dreams and goals with your partner. Almost everything you will do during your lives together will cost money. Make sure your partner’s goals are compatible with yours.


Create a workable structure for your financial lives. Who will be responsible for paying bills, filing invoices, balancing the checkbook, and researching large purchases? Establish a division of labor that suits your talents and needs.


         Celebrate your differences. If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, create a budget that allows for both. If your partner is a bargain-hunter, put him in charge of the spending part of the budget, while you invest the savings.


         Confide in your partner. Keeping financial problems to yourself is destructive to the openness and stability of your relationship. Discuss your worries with your mate and ask her for practical suggestions and support.


            If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to prepare your will. You don’t want guardianship issues to be settled in court if anything happens to you. Ask a friend or relative if he would be willing to be the legal and/or financial guardian for your children after you’re gone. Then, follow through by updating and signing your will.


            Organize regular “money meetings” to discuss your financial situation, dreams, and goals. Use this time to brainstorm creative solutions to problems and generate ideas to improve your future.


            Don’t ignore your partner’s needs. It may not be important to you, but if it’s important to your partner, it’s important to your partnership. Treat your partner as a business associate, not a dumping ground. Hear what your partner is saying, consider it, and respond.


            Have shared ownership for financial matters. By having a shared approach to financial matters and retirement planning, you’ll both feel more secure and satisfied with your finances. A simple way to establish shared ownership is to set a certain expense amount — $50, $100, $500 — over which the two of you agree to talk about purchases before making them.


            Commit to a long-term savings approach. What are your long-terms goals as a couple? Start talking, planning and saving now for your future. Long-term goals such as a home purchase, college education for children or retirement security can take years of planning and disciplined saving. Make sure you are both making progress toward those long-term goals so that you can celebrate reaching milestones together.

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