In any successful marriage, communication is key. To limit disagreements over money and to take advantage of the financial benefits of being married, you and your spouse should be on the same page.
Here are five things you can discuss to help get there:
1. Spending style
Are you a saver or spender? Do you prioritize your budget for necessities or entertainment? To keep spending from becoming a source of conflict in a marriage, discuss your spending styles with each other. By understanding your partner’s style and what each of you value, you can identify areas that may require compromise and create a budget that supports your shared goals.
2. Combining finances
Newly married couples often struggle with the decision to keep separate bank accounts or create a joint one. Start by estimating your combined monthly income and expenses. This will help you figure out how each income can be used for expenses and savings. Here are a few tips to help you make the best decision:
Consider a joint account if you plan to share expenses, such as:
- A mortgage or rent
Keep individual accounts if:
- One partner is a bigger spender than the other
- You both value your financial freedom
Open a joint account but keep your separate ones if:
- You both want to contribute to shared expenses, while managing individual debt
- You both want “fun money”
3. Debt and savings
If you’re like 74 percent of Americans age 25-34, you have $10,000-$100,000 in student loan debt, and saving for retirement is a top financial priority.1 That’s why it’s important to be open with each other about your financial responsibilities as you start to share expenses and plan for your future together.
If debt is difficult to discuss, offer to exchange credit reports. This will give you both a look into your respective financial histories, including credit scores, debt and more.2 Once you understand the cause of the debt, you can explore solutions for paying it down.
4. Retirement plans
Consider how you envision your future and the investments you and your partner have made toward retirement. If you have them, talk about:
Share how much you have in these accounts and discuss adding each other as beneficiaries on your retirement plans.
5. Life insurance
If you don’t currently have life insurance, explore your options. Life insurance provides important coverage that can help offer a financial safety net for your loved ones. A good place to start is to calculate your needs. Evaluate things like your income and debts, as well as your plans for the future, like raising children or buying a home. Once you have an idea of how much coverage you need, it’s easy to get a quote.
If you already have life insurance, now is a great time to review your coverage to make sure it still meets your needs. You may also want to update your policy so that your partner is listed as a beneficiary.
1 2017 Amica Life Financial Peace of Mind Survey, 2017.
2 7 Common Money Conflicts in Marriage and How to Solve Them, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, 2018.
ALIC43119 (exp. 3/20)