relationship and money
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Money in Relationships: 6 Biggest Mistakes Couples Make
Merging all of your money into one joint account after you get married or become cohabiters seems like the romantic thing to do. But if you rush the decision with your partner, it could make things more complicated in the end.
The most obvious reason is that a joint account makes dividing assets more difficult in the event of a breakup. It’s also easy to argue about one spouse’s expenses when they’re draining a mutual account, not just their own piggy bank. When you’re making this decision, remember that you have multiple options. Some couples choose to keep everything separate, others keep their personal accounts but also create a joint account for household expenses, and others choose to create a completely joint account.
“Married couples should try different ways of handling the money to see what works for them,”Ginita Wall, CFP and co-founder of the Women’s Institute for Financial Education, told KeyBank. Many couples decide that merging all of their accounts eventually makes the most sense, especially when paying for a mortgage and the expenses that come with having children. “But unless you’re both comfortable with the idea, there’s no need to rush things,” KeyBank adds.
4. You keep money secrets from each other
If you have regular money meetings to discuss finances and you’re honest during them, this shouldn’t be an issue. But for one reason or another, many people report keeping a significant spending habit from their significant other. About 13 million consumers in the United States have kept a financial account hidden from their spouses, and about 20% of the population has spent $500 or more without telling their significant other.
“So many couples are hiding money or debt or charges and then the spouse finds out and its war in their marriage,” Perry Higgins told Forbes.
Whether you’re paying child support for offspring you never mentioned or you can’t get your spending habit under control, a committed relationship is no place to keep money secrets. If you or your spouse is hiding thousands of dollars, it might be wise to seek the help of a family finance professional, said Mary Claire Allvine, author of The Family CFO. “If this happened in a company, they’d call it embezzlement,” Allvine told KeyBank.
“Communication is Job One in the survival of any relationship, and if you can’t bare your financial soul to your partner, if you can’t trust that person to tell you the truth, you should not be getting married,” writes Gail Vaz-Oxlade, personal finance writer and creator of the site Debt-Free Forever.
5. You don’t save for emergencies
If you and your loved one haven’t started saving for emergencies, you’re not alone. One Gallup survey shows that 48% Americans can’t afford an emergency, and another study found that 2 in 3 Americans don’t have $500 to cover an unexpected car repair or hospital visit.
Still, you’re asking for financial chaos if you can’t work together to save up for emergencies. In some cases, that rainy day fund can keep you from financial disaster. Otherwise, you risk running up your credit tab and accumulating debt that snowballs past the point of recovery.
To avoid that, talk with your partner about the best way you can start to build up an emergency savings fund. The beginning steps don’t have to be huge, but you’ll be thankful you took the time to pay yourself when trouble inevitably comes knocking.
6. You ignore the details
Whether you are dating, married, or just starting to know each other, it’s important to figure out who will pay for things and when. Men are not necessarily in charge of every restaurant bill anymore. If possible, figure out who is paying ahead of time when you go on a date, or split the bill. If you are living with someone or married, sit down and figure out who is going to pay for which bills (if your money is still separate), or when bills will get paid and who is going to keep track of them (if you are married or have joint finances).
Also figure out how much you want to save and what your future goals are together. If you regularly wing financial decisions, you may find that you fight more often, and that your relationship takes a hit.