When couples get married or move in together, they naturally take shared responsibility for their money along with their lives. How to split finances becomes one of the most important and urgent matters to settle from the get-go. How do couples manage finances? There is no one-size-fits-all rule so here are some financial tips for couples to get you started.
Effective Financial Tips for Couples
Understand Each Other’s Money Personality
The key to good financial health and marital bliss is knowing and understanding each other’s views and behavior towards money. If you know what to expect, you can make compromises, and there won’t be as many unpleasant surprises along the way. Discover your money personality as well as your partner’s.
Set Your Financial Goals Together
One of the most important financial tips for couples is talking about your financial goals. Identify what you want to achieve together and how you’ll get there. Some considerations you must discuss with your partner:
How to budget your daily household expenses
Splitting of living expenses and bills
Ways to pay off debts accumulated separately or together
How to handle financial emergencies
Saving and investment strategies
Find a Money Management Strategy that Works
Decide on a strategy for managing your money together based on your shared financial goals. Consider these five money strategies when exploring the way to share finances as a couple:
Keeping your finances separate
Combining finances completely
Managing joint and individual accounts
Living off of a spouse’s income
Living off of a spouse’s income and saving the other’s income
Create a Budget Plan
A budget plan can help you stay on top of your expenses. Designate an amount you can spend for goods, take outs, entertainment, and personal expenses. Include your bills, other debt obligations, irregular expenses, and money for your emergency fund in the budget plan. This is one of the best saving tips for couples who want to be on top of their expenses.
Identify Needs Vs. Wants
Sit down with your partner and determine your needs and wants as a couple. Make sure that you both agree on what you can and can’t live without. Compromises are important in any relationship. If the other person isn’t fully on-board, discuss why and how you can create a middle ground. Also, allot a small amount to treat yourselves.
Read more: How to Budget as a Couple with Nico Bolzico
Maximize Your Benefits
Know each other’s company-sponsored benefits, (e.g., HMO and benefits for dependents), government-mandated benefits (e.g., PhilHealth and SSS maternity benefits), and life insurance policies. Discuss how you can maximize them to save money when one of you gets hospitalized. Make sure to enroll each other (and future kids) as dependents, if possible.
Discuss Job Security
Because of the pandemic, about 45% of adult workers lost their jobs. Talk with your partner about handling your finances when unemployment strikes. Create a financial blueprint and discuss how you can cut back on expenses and what plans involving money can be delayed. While no one wants to lose their job, it’s still best to be prepared should it happen.
Decide If You’re Financially Ready to Have Kids
Raising children is fulfilling but can also drain your finances. You also have to prepare for your kids’ living expenses, medical needs, and education. Discuss with your partner about having kids—whether you can afford to have one or not right now. This is one of the best financial tips for couples who are planning to start a family soon.
Establish an Emergency Fund
Build an emergency fund for unexpected events such as losing your job, your car breaking down, or a trip to the hospital. Experts suggest saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses. In addition, make sure your emergency fund is easily accessible by both of you. Why not keep it in a joint savings bank account where it can grow?
Review Your Finances Regularly
Discuss your budget, income, and spending at least once a month. Talk about how your budget looks like and if your money management system is helping you achieve your financial goals. These meetings can help you identify what you can do to improve your finances. It can also help strengthen your communication and trust level, knowing that you got each other’s back.
Read more: 7 Investment Tips for Newlyweds
These financial tips for couples aren’t the end-all-and-be-all of money management. No matter how well you manage your finances together, you may still face a few hurdles along the way—some of which are beyond your control. What matters is how you deal with negative experiences as a couple.
This article also appeared in The Manila Times.
 Adult unemployment reaches record-high 45.5% in July — SWS (Esguerra, Inquirer, 2020)
 Here’s how much you need to save per paycheck to build a 3-month emergency fund in 2020 (Hecht, CNBC, 2020)
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