Together or Apart?
Do you keep your money to yourself, the old what’s mine is MINE or do you share your finances and the responsibility with your partner? This is a great conversation starter, which often evokes a highly emotional response.
Over the years I have met with couples and in the process of discussing values and personal /financial goals, there has come that awkward, frightening moment when I present the completed twelve month budget. The responses have been memorable in the situations where each partner is keeping their finances separate. I have shared in the sorrow, disbelief, and sheer panic as the full financial picture is revealed. Honesty and openness is a must when dealing with finances as a couple. I have come to the opinion that the most successful way to manage your finances as a couple is to utilize each other’s strengths and to make a plan where each person is held accountable.
Some people truly are not the least bit interested in finances and will live in a world of denial where they honestly do not know how, when or even IF the bills are paid! You can ask them their mortgage interest rate or how they paid for their last vacation and they will just shrug because they have no idea.
So what is a success strategy that has been proven to work over and over again? Both partners in the relationship have to take responsibility.
If you are not the one responsible for the finances (you know who you are) then here are your strategies for success which will reduce the questions and the arguments:
- Show your appreciation towards the one who is managing the finances;
- You MUST make yourself aware of the financial Goals.
- Know what the budgeted weekly amounts are for groceries, etc., and what account you access that money from.
For those of you managing the finances here are your success strategies:
- Have a system in place so your partner can easily access all the information without causing you stress.
- Have one account just for groceries, and spending money. Transfer in the weekly or bi-weekly amount into an account that each person can access with their debit cards. There is definitely NO overdraft protection attached to this account! This is the easiest and most successful method I’ve seen.
My recommendation to all couples: discuss and plan who is going to be responsible for which bills, and to have a system in place that makes this a simple task. Secrecy will not produce financial results; and living in ignorance will only result in frustration for one or both of you.
The solution? Teamwork and using each other’s talents. I have client’s using this method for success. The husband transfers money into both a savings accounts and a spending account (groceries and other expenses).He ensures that the bills are paid on time. It doesn’t matter if 95% of these transactions are automatic debit: it still counts because he has taken ownership!!! The wife does the grocery shopping and takes out the spending money for the week for both of them. They have agreed on set goals and each of them is motivated and feeling involved and appreciated.
The moral of this story? Couples that work together planning and managing their financial future are the most successful, financially, and in their relationship as well. Together or apart: you decide.