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The Nitty Gritty

#CoupleGoals Saying ‘I do’ to a Financial Plan

All you need is love…and a financial plan. Whether you’ve been with your partner for a year or more than 50, it’s never too late to put yourselves on the path to financial harmony.

Financial counselors often find themselves helping couples try to unravel problems caused at least in part by a failure to communicate. The saddest part about these types of issues is that so many of them could have been avoided with a few minutes a month of face-to-face time.

Create Goals Together. One of the best ways to create a platform for great money discussions is to work together to establish shared goals. That way, when you talk about why you want to do certain things with your shared money, you have established what exactly it is you are working toward.

Silence is financially damaging to your relationship. Learn to keep the silence away and lines of communication open and productive, by following the tips below.

Understand and Appreciate Different Money Styles
Many people in relationships find that they grew up in a household or have past experiences that give them a different perspective than their partner. If your significant other has unique attitudes or practices surrounding money, work to show that you understand and value those ideas instead of trying to criticize or change them.

Schedule a Regular Check-in
Irregular or unfocused talks can do more harm than good, since they can give the impression that everything is in tip-top shape. Set a time at least once a month – with TV off and other distractions eliminated – to have a full conversation about any pressing financial matters.

Be Organized
To get the most out of your financial talks, it helps to not only have easy access to your important financial papers or data, but also to make a list of the topics you want to discuss. This will keep the meeting focused and carve out a more efficient path to finding solutions.

Stick to Savings and Spending
Do your best to not bring non-financial qualms to the table when you have your money talks. They only make it harder to achieve successful outcomes with your money.

Support Each Other
Instead of demanding your partner do this or stop that, keep the focus on each of you doing your part to reach the goals you have set for yourselves. No one likes to be nagged about their mistakes or shortcomings. Too much negativity can create a toxic environment around money discussions. Try to come up with 1 to 2 purchases you are willing to cut back on and allow your partner to do the same for themselves.

Turning ‘I do’ into We Do
Once you are finished with your money talk, summarize what was decided and what the next steps are. Not only will you now be able to say you have a financial plan, but it will help to make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings.

If your efforts to develop a financial plan aren’t having success, seek out a financial counselor to help. You may find that reviewing your finances with a neutral third party goes a long way. A counselor trained in reviewing budgets and other financial information can help you sort through a lot of the matters for which you and your significant other aren’t finding common ground.

You’ve probably been told that relationships take work. The same is true with your money matters. But by being committed to communicating in a meaningful and effective way, you can save yourself a lot of heartache.