Marital Money

Combining Finances as a Couple

couples and their financesSometimes there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding couples and their finances.  Everyone is looking for a magic formula that will somehow allow them to comfortably fill their bank account, while effortlessly bringing peace and harmony to their relationship.  In reality, there is no one magic formula that works for all couples.  What works for one particular couple might create issues if another couple tried the same method.

Managing money is simply one more task that most individuals have to address throughout their lifetime.  Just as with household chores, childcare activities and work responsibilities, couples must carve out a plan that works for their unique needs.  Above all, couples must understand the peace and harmony of their relationship is their number one priority.  Once they understand their relationship’s integrity is what is truly important, they can negotiate and delegate the various responsibilities of life between the two of them, including money management.

Some couples might find it works best to put one of them in charge of the finances who makes sure all the bills are paid and the other partner receives what amounts to an allowance for inconsequentials.  Other couples find it works best to keep separate accounts.  They divvy up the monthly obligations and each partner ensures they pay their portion of bills every month.

For long-term financial goals, an annual or semi-annual discussion with each other, much as they would with a financial planner, is a good way to touch base with each other.  Sharing ideas and thoughts and ensuring both parties are comfortable with the trajectory of their long-term plan will go a long way to keeping couples feeling good about their financial future.

As with any partnership, there might be times when the two parties simply do not agree with each other.  This is where compromise and negotiating comes into play.  For example, if your spouse wants to save 20% of your combined take-home pay and you want to save 5%, compromise at 10% or 12%.  Each partner might not get everything they wanted, but both parties did receive at least a portion of their desires and that is probably enough to maintain harmony within their relationship.

Living Together or Getting Married Impacts Couples Financial Planning

wed or not wedNaturally, the decision to wed or not to wed is highly personal.  For many, it is an emotional minefield.  For others, it involves dearly held values.  No matter how strongly emotions and values rule, legal and financial considerations flow from choosing whether or not to marry.

Legal Rights.

Marriage conveys certain legal rights.  For instance, a wedded spouse is allowed to visit their beloved in a hospital or even a prison.

Additionally, a spouse is legally the next of kin.  When it comes to personal misfortune and tragedy.  That status confers meaningful rights.  In an emergency, the marriage partner may make medical decisions.

Cohabitation does not confer the same next of kin status nor the same legal standing. A domestic partner may be barred from the hospital or emergency room. Many hospitals rank blood relatives higher on the list of who gets in. Naturally, everyone benefits from having a will and the appropriate medical care legal documents in place.  For non-married couples these documents are absolutely critical long before a partner becomes incapacitated.

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money tree

The word “infidelity” is pretty common these days, with examples daily in the news.  Celebrities, neighbors and friends all have a story to tell about how they have been betrayed by their partner’s sexual indiscretions.  Usually we think about infidelity as sexual or emotional betrayal, being lied to and deceived by a partner in the worst way that we can imagine. But there’s another type of infidelity that is becoming more common, and that is of financial infidelity. This type of cheating pushes at the hot button for many relationships and marriages- that of money and finances.

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