Have you found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with? If you have, we’re sure there are hundreds of conversations going on around what’s to come in the years you have ahead of you. The big question is, are you talking about your finances and how you can achieve financial wellness as a couple?
We view financial wellness as both people in a relationship sharing a common confidence about what’s going on today with money and having optimism and hope for the future based upon what you are doing now. In order to have this common confidence, you both have to be aware of what’s going on and be able to talk about it. If you can’t talk about it, you may be under financial stress which could delay you achieving financial wellness. If you’d like to learn about the common signs of financial stress in a relationship, read our recent blog. Regardless if you’re under stress or not, if you want to achieve financial wellness, you’ll want to do the following:
- Identify your values
Having a strong sense of what you value and having your money going to that can help you bring joy and happiness into your life and your relationship. Do you value things like travel, self-improvement, education, family time, spirituality, etc.? Take some time to get clear on your individual values first and ask your partner to do the same. Then compare what you came up with. Usually, couples tend to share a lot of the same values.
- Communicate your goals
We all tend to have some sort of goals that we hope to achieve in the near and far future. Most of the time, those goals will involve money in some fashion. Be sure to communicate what those goals are to your loved one. Is your goal to pay for your grandchildren’s college? Is it to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren? Is it to live the best life you can and not worry about what you leave for generations to come? No matter what your goal is or how big or small it is, it’s important to communicate those to see if you have common goals. If you don’t that’s okay. You can still support your partner in their goals as well.
- Set clear expectations and boundaries
This can be difficult to do as you bring two people together financially. Often times, each person has a different relationship with money and therefore different behaviors with it. You may find that you are a spender and your partner is a saver or vice versa. No matter what your relationship with money, you have to agree on financial principles around money. For instance, you may set an expectation that if you want to make a purchase that is $100, you don’t have to run it by your partner and neither do they if they’re making the purchase. However, if one of you wants to spend over $100, you may agree that you will discuss it first and agree on the purchase before it’s made. This can really help as larger purchases can impact your goals and prevent you from spending money on what you truly value.
- Make a plan
If you don’t have a savings and spending plan, you are headed down a dangerous path. Income and expenses can often fluctuate so it’s important that you have a monthly spending and savings plan so you can put back for unexpected expenses and decreased income. Without a plan, you’ll have no idea where your money is going. Additionally, it’s important to plan for things like retirement. It may be important for you to travel the world during retirement or you may just want to stay where you live because you value volunteering as opposed to traveling. No matter what your retirement will look like, it’s important to have a plan to support that.