Combining incomes is a big step. Talking openly about your financial goals can reduce stress and help you decide how to approach spending and saving together. Here are five questions to get the conversation started:
1. How do you handle your money?
Make sure you understand your individual money management preferences and agree on a plan for handling joint expenses, whether you combine accounts or keep things separate.
2. What’s your money history?
Talk openly about your previous relationships—regarding money. Do you have student loans, credit card debt or a history of bankruptcy? A subpar financial history for one of you could affect your standing in a joint account.
3. What are your financial goals?
Ask if your partner wants to buy a home or start saving for children, and ensure your individual goals align as a couple.
4. How much do you want to share?
If you decide to combine incomes, discuss how much you each plan to contribute to certain accounts. One strategy is to divide direct deposits into multiple accounts: a joint account from which bills and groceries can be paid, and separate accounts for you and your significant other.
5. What’s your limit?
Maintain financial bliss by establishing parameters for spending and budgeting. Consider setting a spending limit on big-ticket items and scheduling meetings to discuss long-term and short-term goals.
Bonus Tip: For expenses you’re paying together as a couple, try thinking about those finances as “our” money, instead of “mine” and “yours.” After all, you’re in it together.