Money, regardless of how much or little a couple has, creates stress in a relationship. After years of coaching engaged couples, I have found that following the simple process outline below really helps couples deal with their money matters:
1) Set individual short and long term goals. Sit down without your partner and write down what you want your money to do for you. It is important for both you and your faïence to know what you want as unique individuals. Marriage is going to require you to compromise and sacrifice on the financial front and you will be far less resentful if your are clear about what you are sacrificing and why. Trust me, this helps.
- Your short term goals should focus on the next six months to one year.
- Your long term goals should focus on the next one to five years.
2) Create couple short and long term goals. Now its time to sit down with you partner and plan for the future. Read each others goals (the ones you set in step 1) and tell you partner what’s important to you and why. Listen to what you partner has to say. Once you have heard each other it’s time to put pen to paper and write short and long term goals together. These goals will help guide your married financial life.
3) Create a Budget. This is not fun; but it is essential. There are some great websites out there that will help you with this process like Mint.com. You can also download my free budget worksheet. If you are not currently combining your income this is a good chance to see what you combined income will look like. It’s also a good time to talk about bank accounts (will you get a joint account or keep separate accounts) and who is going to pay the bills.
4) Pick one of your long term goals and one of your short term goals and devise a plan to achieve them based on your budget.
5) After one month sit down you partner look at your budget again and evaluate your progress. Can you start working toward another one of your goals or do you need to reevaluate what you did last month.
One final note: I am not a financial planner and you should consult a professional financial planner before making any big financial decisions.
If anyone has any has any great budgeting ideas for couples, please comment. I’d love to hear them.