Today we’re talking about 5 tips that will help you to manage your money as a couple so that you are empowered to reach your financial goals together and build the life you both want.
First let me tell you a short story.
Ezra meets Sara, they fall in love, get engaged and they start planning for their dream wedding. At this point they have discussed their dream house, whether or not they’ll have kids, and what they love most about each other. They get married and begin their new lives together until one day they realise there was one big thing they haven’t really spoken about; money.
Like Ezra and Sara, my wife Lindie and I found ourselves in all sorts of confusion about managing our finances soon after we got married, it was hard enough when I was managing my own money now there’s two of us in the mix!
The journey to being in a relationship varies from couple to couple but most couples, if not all, will get to a point where “the money talk” needs to happen because they are not doing money together.
It is at this point where the 5 tips came from for us and they have served us well in our relationship.
5 Tips To Manage Your Money As A Couple
These apply to all couples, whether you have a good handle on your money, where only one of you is the Chief Financial Officer of the house, or if you both don’t really know what’s happening with your finances.
Let’s get into them.
Tip 1: Think ‘We’
The concept of ‘we’ is easily adapted in a relationship, for instance you hear couples say, ‘our house’ or ‘our food shop’, and this is about adapting the same mindset with money.
Seeing the credit cards as our debts, the savings as our emergency fund, and pay as our household income was a game changer for us. When you have this mindset, you feel like you’re in this together as it becomes our problem to solve or our goals to reach.
There’s an old proverb that says:
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Tip 2: Put everything on the table
For you to have the ‘we’ mindset there has to be trust and transparency in how you both think and feel about money. Be open about your financial goals that you aspire to achieve, and also your worries and fears about your finances.
This includes being open about your financial numbers which could be your debts, credit scores, and salaries, and your financial habits of spending, saving, and investing.
The aim here is to build trust! Money is a financial currency that also brings out a lot of emotions within us so to trust each other with your money, there has to be emotional trust as a foundation.
Check out this post on practical tips on How to be united to become debt free in your relationship so you can finally tackle those debts together!
Tip 3: Play to your strengths
You may be in this together but that doesn’t mean you’re both in the driver seat.
If one of you is better at budgeting how the money will be allocated, then give them the space to do so. If the other is better at financial planning and looking into investments and pensions let them do what they do best.
There is no universal money strategy that works for every couple so find what works in your relationship and commit to it. The key factor is that you’re both in agreement about your financial goals, your plan to achieve those goals, and who’s responsible for what on that journey.
Tip 4: Have regular money talks
Communication is one the key ingredients of managing money and building trust. Think about it, you have regular communication with your bank accounts – be it virtually through a mobile app, because you want to check if things are okay and that things are happening as they should be.
These money talks can be quick chats about how much you’ve spent over the last week or how close you are to your savings goals; or an in-depth discussion of your financial position and planning the financial possibility of living on one income so the other can be a full time parent.
Regularly talking about money also has the added benefit of making money a regular discussion in your house and not a taboo subject that is never spoken about. This will go a long way in improving your financial literacy as a family!
Tip 5: Celebrate your money journey
Whether your plans are to save £1,000 for your emergency fund, start to live frugally and spend less, or to finally set up the life insurance you’ve been putting off, every goal should be celebrated once achieved.
No goal is too small to celebrate! It proves to the both of you that you can achieve your goals together and it massively boosts your momentum to keep going towards the other financial goals you have.
Celebrate however you want to! Bake a cake, create a success mood board, or share the news with close family and friends. It doesn’t matter how, what matters is that you consciously celebrate your achievements.
Bonus Tip: Don’t judge
There will be things you’ll find out that may shock you or surprise you about each other’s financial past, habits, or ideas. The goal is to work towards your financial future together and agree on a way that works for the both of you.
These tips are for you to pick and mix which ones work for your relationship and which ones you want to try to better improve the way you manage money together. There is no right or wrong, good or bad, there’s just you and your partner who are together and want to manage money better together.
Share this post with your partner, friends and family to encourage them to find ways to work better financially in a relationship.
Knowledge is powerless without action
Take action and take care
My name is Thando Jacobs. I run Skilled Funds where we teach the skills to manage and maximise money for young adults and young couples. I do this with my beautiful wife Lindie, and we’re so glad to meet you here.
On our blog we write about all things money for young adults and young couples, alongside breaking down personal finances into bite-sized content on our Instagram page.