Are you starting a relationship or are you already in one?
If you are, talking about finances is one of the most sensitive topics as well as one of the most important conversations to establish with your significant other. It is a discovering process to learn your partner’s money views along with how your partner saves, spends and manages money. Understanding the goals each of you may have for the future is crucial for a successful outcome.
These are some of the topics to ideally discuss with your partner, before getting married or living together, but if you already are, it is always good to open the communication about your finances.
· Financial personalities – Learn each other’s values and beliefs about money. Understanding your partner’s views about money will help to build a solid communication for present and future decisions that will require financial planning. This is the foundation to determine the strategies to use when it comes to money. Discovering each other’s financial personality and habits is essential.
· Create a budget – Plan and budget for your future together. As a couple, know how much money each of you bring home and what responsibilities you share for example; rent, utility bills, credit cards, debt repayment, etc., will provide a vison for the goals you may have as a couple.
· Be transparent – Tell each other what your assets and liabilities are as it will help your joint financial situation. If you have debt, you might decide to consolidate or add extra payments to pay it down faster. Discuss cash or liquid assets you may have on an account and who will have access in case of an emergency, chronic illness or in case an accident occurs.
· Financial arrangements – As a couple, are you going to create a joint bank account or will you keep them separately? For example in some cases, couples keep separate accounts but they might open one account to pay shared bills.
· Talk about goals – When it comes to saving money for a goal, such as the down-payment for a house, vacation, going back to school, or retirement, ask each other, are you on the same page? Determine what short-term and long-term goals you desire to achieve as a couple so you can work together to accomplish them.
· Others topics to consider – Estate planning involves a will, making decisions, power of attorney, and beneficiaries in case something unexpected happens. Also remember to talk about insurance, including the different types of policies and coverage. These steps will help to build and protect you as a couple.
As hard as it may seem to talk about money the first step is to start the conversation. Whether you are getting married or live together, if you are committing to a long-term relationship it changes your financial situation. The earlier you start planning and discussing these topics with your partner the better it will be for your relationship. Be honest, transparent and open-minded; remember we all can have different perspectives when it comes to money. The key is to join efforts as a couple to make your financial plan and goals a reality.
Need help? Contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office. If you are interesting in more of our programs, contact us at UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County at 321-697-3000. For more information about our programs visit us at http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/osceola/.