7 Keys to Handling Money in a Relationship

7 Keys to Handling Money in a Relationship

Communicate: You and your partner need to be on the same page financially. Talk openly about your preferences for handling money, your goals for the future, and any concerns you have about how you jointly are handling your income.

Set Financial Goals: Where do you want to go? A couple should come to an agreement on what their long-term goals are and how they'll get there. Much of that discussion will involve financial matters.

Deal With Debt: Both partners should have an honest, nonjudgmental discussion—ideally around the time when their relationship looks like it's becoming serious—about the debts they carry. Each needs to come clean about any bad spending or financial habits that the other should know about—or any personal or family issues that could affect future spending.

Consider a Prenup: If you just can't come to an agreement but your heart won't let you walk away, a prenuptial agreement may be an option. Just be aware that one partner may find it insulting.

Know Your Financial Personality: Personality will play a major role in your financial plans and success of your relationship. Pay attention while you are dating and be honest about who you are and how you were raised. Talking about your views and feelings can help put both partners at ease, or at least let them know what to expect.

Check Your Ego: Few things build resentment faster than being made to feel inferior. If you've got more cash, you need to be sensitive about how you present spending decisions. If you don't have the money, you need to be prepared for stress and tension that is almost inevitable. This subject comes up with increasing frequency when couples wait until later in life to marry.

Address Family Matters: Extended family can be a huge challenge, and no single piece of advice will properly address every situation and the emotions inevitably attached to them. Having a policy agreed upon in advance (such as asking for consent) can help stave off trouble. And defaulting to understanding will smooth over any small transgressions.

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