Marriage and Money- Tips from a professional
Laura Bare, CFP, CDFA
LPL Financial Advisor
Financial matters can be a complicated subject for the newly married. But it doesn’t have to be a stressful part of the relationship if you follow a few tips.
First, communication in a relationship is important. It’s especially, important when it comes to money matters. Each couple brings to the relationship unique disciplines and behaviors regarding spending and saving habits and even systems of how to pay the bills! Talk about your preferences with your partner and find the common ground of tackling financial decisions.
Second, when it comes to joint accounts, should you have a joint checking account? We say, yes. But that does not mean you can’t have your own account as well. Joint accounts are a great way for both partners to contribute to the household financial responsibilities. However, maintaining your own funds provides an opportunity to surprise your partner from time to time with those birthday and anniversary gifts. It also helps maintain a sense of individuality.
Along with the joint account, make sure the contributions are proportional to the income generated to the household. If one spouse makes significantly more than the other, a 50/50 split toward the bills make not be ideal. Instead, consider making the contributions to the joint account proportionate to the income received.
Newly married couples sometimes miss looking at debts each partner brings to the table as well. This can have a tremendous bearing on financial decisions. For instance, if one or both parties have student loan debt, you may want to consider options on how you file taxes each year. Obviously, consult with your tax professional in making those decisions.
We recommend each couple carve out time each month for “CFO time”. By CFO, we mean having “Couples Financial Opportunities” discussion. This is a dedicated time to review the financials of the relationship. How are we doing? Are we saving enough? Are we making progress paying off debts? Enjoying this conversation over your favorite beverage is our recommendation!
Working with a financial professional can ultimately help you build a plan that is right for your relationship. If each partner already has a financial advisor, consider meeting with both. While you don’t have to choose just one financial advisor for the household, you do want to make sure their recommendations are based on the goals each partner brings to the table. Don’t let money cause stress in your relationship. Become CO-CFO’s for your financial decisions.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific
advice or recommendations for any individual.