Here’s a surefire way to keep the romance in your relationship: Light the candles. Uncork the wine. Pull up a spreadsheet on your laptop and figure out a budget.
Or how about this? Snuggle on the sofa. Surf travel sites. Discover you’ve both always wanted to see the seashore in the Seychelles. Put the money in an emergency savings fund instead.
You get the point. Financial planning may not be sexy, but nothing drains romance from a relationship like money worries.1 Research shows nearly 80 percent of working Americans are seriously stressed about finances — even two-income households pulling in “good” money. Rather than travel down that fraught road together, here are five steps couples can take to ease the strain and become more confident about their financial future.
What do you want to achieve individually and as a couple? Write down your life goals, big and small — travel, children, start a business, retire at 50 — and prioritize them. One hundred percent of married couples plan for their wedding, but only 37 percent of Americans create a financial plan to guide their future together.
Track the money flowing into and out of your household for a few months. Based on what you learn, create a budget that enables you to meet expenses, cover emergencies, and save for life goals. Healthy finances are built on trust. Sadly, more than 7 million Americans hide money or credit cards from their partners.2 Be honest; a budget honeycombed with secrets will collapse.
In sickness and in health. Till death do us part. When bad things happen to good relationships, they can put everything you’ve built in jeopardy. Make sure you both have adequate health, life and disability insurance and keep the beneficiaries and terms up-to-date as your life changes.
Try to save a year’s worth of salary to cover unexpected expenses. It’s a tall order, but channeling money each month into an emergency fund will increase your financial and emotional confidence. You’ll both feel good becoming world-class savers.
You thought we were kidding about wine and spreadsheets? The best way to avoid financial friction in your relationship is to make decisions and stay accountable together. Schedule a time (perhaps monthly) to talk over your finances: Review your budget, discuss upcoming expenses and measure progress toward your goals. For motivation, check out John and Jane’s story.
When it comes to the financial side of a successful relationship, nothing is more romantic than making sure you and your partner are on track — and on the same page — to realize your life goals, meet your obligations and protect your family and assets.
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2018-54029 Exp. 02/2020
*The Guardian Study of Financial and Emotional Confidence™ 2017