This past May marked my husband and I’s 4th wedding anniversary (yikes, it seems like only yesterday I was writing about our wedding budget!). On top of that, we also celebrated 10 years of being a couple. That means I’ve officially spent a 3rd of my life with this one guy by my side. That’s insane. Also, I feel really old sharing that.
Nonetheless, because we’ve been together for over a decade now, how we’ve managed our money as a couple has changed big time.
At the start, when we were just dating, we kept everything separate. Then, when we moved in together after 4 1/2 years, we still kept everything separate, but it wasn’t as clean-cut as it was when we were dating. It was the first time in our relationship that we had joint bills and responsibilities, which meant we needed to make a change.
We considered getting a joint credit card or even a joint chequing account, but honestly I was the one who pumped the breaks on the idea. Call me super traditional, but I didn’t feel comfortable combining any of our finances until we got married.
So…we got married. Not because of that, we wanted to (obviously), but we waited to move on to that next level of our financial relationship until we said “I do.” And I’m honestly glad we waited. I know that may not make sense for everyone, but that’s why what’s right for one couple may not work for another. Ultimately, you’ve got to do what makes the most sense for you.
And that’s what we did. We did what made us both the most comfortable, and that was waiting until we got married to open up a joint credit card, chequing account, savings account and investment account.
But aside from all of those accounts, we still kept most of our money separate (and still do). We like the freedom and independence that comes with keeping our finances both separate and together, and it’s a big reason we rarely argue about money.
Want to know the other reasons we almost never fight about money? Then check out my latest video with the key points below.
1. Money Is a No Judgement Topic in Our House
It can be easy (or even unconscious) to judge how your partner handles money. You’re used to your way of thinking about and managing money, and seeing your partner do things a different way can seem almost illogical in your eyes.
Guess what. They probably think they same thing about you! They’re used to how they do things, just like you’re used to your way of doing things. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have different ways of doing things, as long as you get to the same result or achieve the same goal.
What’s key is to always come from a place of non-judgement and respect when communicating with your partner about money. And when you do this, you’ll get the same respect in return, and will ultimately be able to have a successful conversation about your finances that doesn’t end in someone’s feelings being hurt.
2. We Don’t Play the Blame Game
This ties into making money a no-judgement topic. Although it’s important to avoid judging your partner for how they handle money, it’s equally as important not to put any blame on them when things go awry.
Maybe you keep going over budget, and it’s mainly due to your partner’s spending habits. It can be easy to blame them for overspending and not sticking to your budget, but that’s not a solution to the problem at hand. That just makes them feel bad, makes you feel bad for making them feel bad, and you still haven’t fixed the problem of going over budget.
What you should do instead is open up a conversation with love and respect, no blame or judgement, and talk about why this keeps happening. Maybe they aren’t even aware of their spending problem, or maybe there’s some other deep-rooted issue that they’re dealing with and spending is their way to make themselves feel better.
Whatever it is, if you talk about it coming from a good place, you’ll be able to find a solution together without launching into a heated argument.
3. Open Communication About Money Is Always Our Priority
We’ve always talked about money, but that’s probably not a big surprise since I’ve always loved talking about it. But how we’ve talked about money has definitely evolved as the years have gone by. When we were dating, we were fairly secretive about what our financial situations were because we kept all of our finances separate. We knew neither of us were in debt and didn’t have that much savings (we were in our 20s and both just finished school mind you), but we didn’t know any hard numbers.
It wasn’t until we moved in together that we revealed all the numbers, and wow was that an intimate moment. But it was also really freeing. Finally, there was nothing to hide and we knew where we were both coming from. This made it easier to have further conversations about our bills, savings goals and spending habits.
Although we were more open about talking about money when we lived together, it wasn’t until we got married that we started our regular money meetings. For one hour each month, we sit down and review our budget, spending and net worth. Then, we discuss what feel like we need to work on for the following month, and what new savings goals we need to focus on.
That’s it really. It’s something we both now look forward to because it gives us both some extra motivation to keep on track for the following month. Plus, taking some time to talk money with some treats and a bottle of wine doesn’t hurt either.
4. We Accept Each Other’s Money Personalities
We all have money personalities, and sometimes they clash. If you’ve got the “security” money personality, you may have a hard time understanding someone with the “love” money personality.
Listen, even if you’re in a couple, you’re still different people with different backgrounds, experiences, values and beliefs. The only way to make things work with someone with a different money personality than you is to first understand what their money personality is, then take some time to truly understand and accept their money personality.
And once you accept their money personality, it’ll be easier to enter those conversations without any judgement or blame, and come from a place of thoughtfulness, love and respect.
5. We Set Joint Financial Goals
Last but not least, you need to be on the same page when it comes to your financial goals. It’s okay to have separate financial goals, but it’s key to have joint financial goals as well. They’ll help you get that motivation you’ll need to stick to your budget and be conscious of your spending because you’re working together as teammates.
I can’t tell you what having joint financial goals has done for our relationship. Having things that my husband and I are both working towards makes all the time and effort we put into our finances worth it. And once you finally achieve that goal together, it tastes even sweeter because you accomplished it as true partners.
Do you argue with your partner about money? What are some of the most common arguments you have and what do you think that is?