Practical Tips for Managing Money as a Couple

I recently met with Lisa Berlin, MBA, Daily Money Manager (www.tcbinc.us) and we came up with some recommendations:

  •  Make sure you are discussing money concerns, not underlying issues of control, security, or love.
  • For married couples, consider having a joint account for shared obligations with each partner having own separate account. The separate accounts can hold discretionary money to be spend on extras (one partner may spend it on eating out; while another will save it up for a special hobby)
  • Commit to a financial dialogue on a regular basis. Some of the topics could be agreeing on short and long term goals; prioritizing spending; deciding whether you need or desire an item and what will happen if you delay getting it; and determining whether your obligations are being met, and if not, what changes you as a couple need to make.
  • Many of the couples I see find it helpful to use my ‘Money Decision Making Chart.’

There are 5 choices:

  1. Decisions made by one partner without consulting the other (for example, food shopping, getting basic sets of clothes for the family, use of discretionary funds).
  2. Decisions made by the same partner after consulting with the other (getting advice on kind of car to buy, which school to go to, etc.)
  3. Joint decisions made together, such as, buying a home, a car, vacations, amount for savings, amount in the discretionary funds, etc.
  4. Decisions made by the other with consultation.
  5. Decisions made by the other partner without consultation.

When money issues come up, you as a couple can decide where it belongs on the chart.

Money Decision Making Chart

Click on link above to open a larger version of the chart.

Click on link above to open larger version of the chart.

Let me know what other tips you find helpful.


Ann Klein – Columbia Marriage and Relationship Counseling teaching couples effective communication skills to resolve conflicts, reestablish intimacy, and restore caring and connection in their relationships.

 

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