Through sickness and health, ‘till death do us part … aaaaand let’s keep our money separate, ok?
I used to think that if you were married, you had to share everything – a bed and a bank account. However, the majority of married folks take a hybrid approach to their finances (like my husband and I do, after figuring out it was too stressful to share finances with me as a business owner and him as an employee).
In fact, having a ‘yours, mine and ours’ approach, although difficult for me at first (because I was breaking old paradigms and beliefs about how money and marriage should be) can be an incredibly healthy way to manage your money in a marriage.
(Before we continue, I want to say that as a financial coach who has worked with singles, married couples, and divorcees – you should NEVER combine finances with someone who is NOT your legal spouse. Don’t buy a house together. Don’t put his/her name on your stuff until you’re legally married!)
The benefits to separate finances are mostly psychological, allowing the spender in the relationship (me) to buy what they desire (essential oils!) without getting the stink eye from the partner who is a saver.
However there’s a difference between having separate bank accounts and making financial decisions together, because at the end of the day communication will make or break a relationship – even great sex may not save a marriage if there’s no communication, right?
Without my husband and I working together and sharing a vision together, we would have never been able to purchase our 6,000 sqft historic brick building in the heart of a small downtown in Colorado. We had to go in TOGETHER.
You need to talk about money together. I’ve heard stories of spouses who hid debt from their significant other, only to later file for bankruptcy and drag their spouse down with them. Ugh.
I remember a good friend of mine telling me she was at the grocery store with her two young children – they were probably 1 and 3 years old at the time. The one year old was colicky and constantly crying, so she was already stressed and exhausted. Her card was denied and she had to walk out of the store embarrassed, mortified and empty handed. Come to find out, her husband had a gambling problem and had drained their bank accounts that morning.
Talk openly about the status of your financials — good or bad — and set goals for your future, if you plan on sharing it together! You don’t have to manage every penny together, but work together on your shared expenses.
If you make more money and want to buy a nicer house than what your spouse can afford, perhaps talk about how to split the cost fairly — not necessarily equally.
You can make it proportionate to what each of you makes.
If you’re the nerd in the relationship (meaning, you’re the person who loves the numbers, pays the bills, and gets excited about the spreadsheets), then YOU design the cash flow plan.
If you’re the free spirit, you must show up to the cash flow planning meetings with wine and music and CHANGE something about the plan. Don’t just let the nerd take control.
Longer-term goals are harder to divvy up. If one of you is a saver and the other is a spender, you might be in very different situations when it comes to retirement.
That can lead to resentment and a diminished lifestyle in retirement, so longer term goals need to be agreed upon just like the other expenses. He wants mountain bikes and I want trips to Europe. Deal!
Talk to each other. Understand “where everything’s at” financially, so there are no surprises. You don’t want your spouse to meet your CPA and financial advisors for the first time at your funeral. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but it’s true.
All this adds a whole new level of transparency and takes a lot of unnecessary stress out of the relationship. It helps you sleep better at night.
When I work with couples in my Millionaire Money Mastery program, I help them cash flow plan together, make decisions together, and dream together. I also work with them separately on their money beliefs & blocks as well as their personal wealth goals.
Even if you’re not sharing all of your money, you’re still sharing a life and a future together. And, I would be honored to talk about working with both of you so you can create and/or improve upon your ‘separate, but together’ financial plan for life, grow your net worth, and walk in lockstep with your wealth.
Just send me a message. I’ll ask you a few Qs, share with you info about what we can accomplish together (with time frames, ranges in the amount of increase in $$, retirement planning, etc.) and if it’s a fit, we can get started.
PS – if you’re single or divorced, I’d love to work with you as well. So, just because I wrote a post about married folks, doesn’t mean I’m counting you out! I’ve helped plenty of singles prepare themselves financially AND plenty of divorcees protect and grow their wealth. Hit me up and let’s see how we can make your dollars dance
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