7 of the Most Common Money Dilemmas Couples Face
Arguably, money can be easier when you’re single: There’s no one but yourself to blame.
But when there are two of you, the going can get tougher, particularly if you and the love of your life aren’t carbon copies when it comes to what to do with your money.
One 2011 study even suggests that opposite financial types tend to attract: Spendthrifts tend to fall for tightwads and vice versa, hoping their partner can moderate their financial habits. (Unfortunately, the vaster the difference between the spouses’ money tendencies, the worse off it was for their marriage.)
Enter, your Dedicated Planner. Someone who can help you answer the big and little questions, so your money becomes a means of reaching your goals, not triggering fights.
To help you out, we compiled some of the thorniest financial questions couples often encounter as they work through the LearnVest Action Program. Then we enlisted David Blaylock, CFP® with LearnVest Planning Services, for his advice on how to tackle each one.
1. Deciding How to Combine Your Money
The dilemma: The first step of the Action Program involves connecting your financial accounts to the Money Center so you can keep track of your whole money picture. It sounds simple enough, but often getting organized makes couples realize just how many separate accounts they have to link. What if one partner wants to consolidate by keeping more money commingled, while the other wants to keep accounts separate? What should—or shouldn’t—be shared?
Blaylock’s advice: Having a joint account for mutual expenses may be important, but Blaylock is also a fan of separate flexible spending accounts for costs like eating out and personal shopping. “Spending patterns between partners are not often the same, and flexible accounts create a judgment-free zone,” he says. “It’s like an allowance: Here’s some money, do with it what you want. It tends to encourage marital harmony.”