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"Don’t delay it." The 5 money conversations every couple needs to have.

“You both need to get on the same page.”

It’s what I tell my clients when I can see an argument brewing as I help them get their finances in order. 

Money is an emotionally charged topic. Each person has a different relationship with it. 

My job as a financial advisor is to help couples create a financial plan that works for them. But, it requires them to be aligned in how they want to spend and save their money. 

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Did you know that money is one of the most common arguments couples have?

The best things in life may be free, but not having crucial money chats comes at a heavy cost to a relationship. 

Here are five money conversations every couple should have to get on the same page when it comes to money.

1. Your money goals.

One partner dreams about taking a round the world trip. The other wants to buy a three-bedroom house in the suburbs. Both can be diligent savers but when you’re not aligned on your goals, it could lead to conflict and resentment. 

Out of all the money chats you need to have, setting money goals is a fun one. Don’t delay it.

Write down your goals separately and then prioritise each one as a couple. That way each person gets a say and you have a joint plan to make them happen. 

2. Your money history.

When it comes to money, your past has a lot to do with the present and future. What people don’t realise is that your attitude towards money is directly influenced by your upbringing with it. 

If a person grew up in a household where their parents scrimped, saved and always fought about money, this could put them in a scarcity mindset where they always fear losing money. On the other hand, you could have someone grow up in a home where living credit was the norm, and see them in a heap of debt later on. 

This conversation can get heavy. 

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Start by telling each other one memory you have with money. You’ll start to get an understanding of why your partner acts the way they do when an unexpected bill comes in or when you suggest to open a savings account together. 

3. Your spending habits.

You might be thinking: "Why do we need to have this conversation, anyway? Won’t it be obvious?". The answer is yes and no. 

Some people earn to save, others earn to spend. You may know which category your partner falls into but it’s also important to understand why. 

Do they save every dollar because they’re afraid you won’t have food on the table? Do they spend every dollar they have because it gives them instant satisfaction they don’t get anywhere else? 

Having an understanding of each other’s spending habits can help you build a financial plan that works. 

If your partner is a spender for example, I’d help them create a budget where there’s money allocated for mini splurges. If someone is a saver, I’d put a plan in place where earnings would be allocated to a healthy emergency fund. 

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4. Your debt.

A chat about debts is one most couples put on the back burner and yet, it’s the most important one to have.

And surprisingly, the topic of debt, and how much each person owes only comes up when a big purchase (like buying a home) is nearing. This causes so much stress and damage to a relationship. 

It’s better to be upfront about your debt before you plan to make a big commitment. 

5. Yours, mine, ours - who owns what? 

What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine, right? Not for everyone.

It’s easy to assume that everything is split 50/50 in a relationship but not everyone will agree. This is especially true where one person earns significantly more than the other.

It’s important to discuss who owns what before you make a big purchase (like buying a property). The same goes with a joint savings account where each person may contribute 20 per cent of their income but one earns significantly more money. 

Getting aligned with what you’d like to do with your money will not only set you up for financial success but also help you avoid the arguments so many couples have. 

Gerry Incollingo is the Managing Partner of LCI Partners, a firm that specialises in accounting advisory, lending, wealth, property, insurance and legal.

Feature image: Mamamia/Canva.