Ah, coupledom. Moving in together and getting married are major milestones in life. However, while you and your partner may be the perfect couple, what if your financial styles are a mismatch?
Romantic dinners by the bay and pillow talk are unlikely to evoke discussions of credit card debt and spending styles. However, talking about money when times are good is more likely to lead to a positive outcome, rather than leaving it until things come to a head, says Alim Dhanji, a Certified Financial Planner® professional and financial advisor with Assante Wealth Management in Vancouver, B.C.
It’s a discussion worth having—sooner rather than later, he adds. “Mismatched financial styles really don’t matter, provided a couple can find common ground. Budgeting and establishing goals together can help bridge the gap between a spender and a saver.”
Here are more tips to achieve harmony in your financial styles and help you fulfil your dreams for a life together:
Budget together: It can be as simple as writing down expenses on a calendar, or using a spreadsheet program or app. Review the numbers together regularly, identifying areas that may need addressing to allow you to reach your goals. For example, spending in restaurants might be cut in order to save for a first home, retirement fund or other joint goal.
Keep bills in both names: Typically, one person is the keeper of all household bills, however if things go bad the other partner must re-establish their credit rating. This can make it difficult to obtain a loan, lease a car or rent an apartment.
Discuss uncoupling: It may seem unromantic, but deciding what each party wishes to keep after a breakup (house vs investments or a business) will make uncoupling that much less stressful and acrimonious.
Seek third party input: A CFP professional can help guide you through all the financial considerations of being life partners—including the uncomfortable ones. A professional financial planner can also help you develop a road map for achieving agreed-upon goals such as owning a home, welcoming children, and enjoying a financially sound retirement.
Becoming a couple doesn’t have to mean changing your style or compromising on the things you enjoy in life. Create a plan that lets you find the right path to enjoying everything in life together, right from the start.
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