Money is the biggest problem amongst couples and the cause of big differences and stress. More people have a negative attitude about discussing money with their better halves, while a few believe that a money conversation can be easy and productive. Before you let the money issues tank your marriage learn how to discuss this issue and merge finances with your spouse.
You plan the entire home décor before moving in with your better half but forget the most important discussion that is money.Money is a complicated subject and not just pillow talk; you have to tackle this important topic if you have to lay a strong foundation for your future together. Merging finances takes compromise, planning and some potentially uncomfortable conversations, but if you approach it strategically it can (almost) be painless. Setting the scene before you start discussing finance is important. You don’t want to bombard your spouse with the topic of merging the finances. So you must find the right time to discuss the same.
Here are a few tips:
Cover the Basics-Start the conversation by laying out the details of your financial situation and vice versa. This requires significant disclosure but then both of you are aware of the bigger picture.
Income-How much money do you make? Tell your spouse about your steady income, bonuses, stocks or any other compensation you receive. If you are a full time freelancer or an independent businessman with an unpredictable or lumpy income make sure your partner understands that.
Make a list of your assets and debts-What are your assets and what do you owe? Find out that is your spouse ready to contribute towards the payment of your debts, if not then a complete merger is not possible.
Discuss your financial priorities, like are you committed to saving up to own a home?
What are your personal and joint goals? See where you stand career wise, family, home and what you prioritize when it comes to saving.
What are your financial hang-ups and financial style- are you a spendthrift? If you are a big saver but you partner spends a lot, then you got to see how you will adjust.
Decide how to merge-There is no right or wrong way to merge you can combine your money completely or partially. Combing completely means merging all your bank accounts, sharing all credit cards and agreeing how you will be paying off the debts that you each brought into this relationship. Some couples view this as a great way to simplify things, but this requires compromises.
On the other hand you can go in for a partial merger, for example some couples open joint accounts where they deposit part of their paychecks for joint expenditure like house rent, utility bills, and basic groceries. You can also open a joint account to save for the future, like starting a family, or buying a house etc. So start with working out the details as to how you want to merge your accounts, what systems will you use to manage your money, how often you will check finances and how often will you communicate about money? Finally go at your own pace and do what suits the two of you.
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