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Handling Money as a Couple

How to Become More Financially Compatible as a Couple

There's nothing romantic about money. It can buy lovey-dovey getaways and tokens of our affection, but money in itself is a topic that brings a business aspect to relationships. This element doesn't have to detract from a relationship based on love, but it often does, and Tara Siegel Bernard of The New York Times argues that "marriage at its core is still a financial union." Because it's an undeniable part of our existence, Tara gathered guidelines for becoming a more financially compatible couple.

  • Talk and share goals. Before walking down the aisle, ask tough questions like who will care for any children and retirement goals.
  • Run a home like a business. Share the responsibilities of budgeting and tracking finances, and make important decisions together.
  • Be supportive of careers. Encouragement and support from the person you're with can help you succeed in your career.

Discover four more pointers when you


  • Enjoy, but within reason. Live a sustainable lifestyle and build up savings in case things don't go as planned.
  • Use a mediator. Seemingly irreconcilable differences on money matters can lead to larger problems. Use a financial planner or therapist to find a compromise.
  • Maintain some independence. Allocate some funds for each person to spend as they please.
  • Invest in your marriage. Create a long-lasting marriage by spending quality time together and going on dates.


Join The Conversation
geebers geebers 8 years
I am glad this is on here - and I hope dearsugar linked it. I can never understand couples that do not recognize the importance of finances in a relationship.
uaintkidin uaintkidin 8 years
I'm the saver, he's the spender. I have this need to know where the money is going! It is a little crazy. This is why I handle all of the bills. It works for us. As long as there are no surprise large purchases I'm ok. I do like the idea of setting aside money for each of us. I might have to start that one.
melizzle melizzle 8 years
So very important to be on the same page financially as a couple...
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
ha, jacrabbit84, not to worry--i understood. and thank you! :)
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
Since we're trying to buying a house, we've been talking about our finances a LOT lately. It's been a good thing, we've learned a lot and are more aware of all our spending.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 8 years
For me, one of the most important factors is that my fiance and I are encouraging of one another's career endeavors. It's an issue of respecting our individual wants and needs while having the consideration to include the other person, and this translates into so many other factors in a relationship.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Well not "issues", it sounds like you're doing great...nevermind, you know what I mean :-)
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Well said, carhorns! And good for you working out all those issues ahead of time, you'll be so glad you did!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
my fiance and i talk about money all the time - when we moved in together i thought that it would make sense to have a joint account for rent and utilities and he said that it really isn't a smart thing since we'll get into arguements about who's contributing etc. he said that we'll just be accountable for things and i have to say that so far, i leave him a note of what 1/2 the bills are and he pays them and we're all set. i know that since my credit is better than his - it's my goal to get all my debt cleared before we get married so i can use my great credit to get us a house - and that's something that he's actively helping me with. he's helping me pay down some of my stuff so that i can have no debt - and then we'll tackle his. we're definitely supportive and he knows that we want to be financially stable to have kids and that's also something that we talk about a lot. he's always encouraging me to go to the next level at work and try to get a higher position if one's open so we can grow our savings.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
carhorns that is a sweet way of thinking about it!
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
my fiance and i have discussed everything on this list before (except the mediator... no need for one of those, so far), and going into our marriage, we've got a really solid base for how we're going to handle our finances. regarding savvy's comments about money discussions not being romantic: i disagree! i find those conversations to be affirming of the strength of our relationship, and i think there's nothing more romantic than feeling like a solid team.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Great, thanks for the tips.
SugarKat SugarKat 8 years
Hubby's a saver...I'm a spender. It's gotten to where he just lets me have the money and I let him know when he can go buy groceries. It's not bad. I pay the bills, we both work. I curb my spending. It works for us...
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I think this is a topic that is oft ignored by couples until it's too late! This one is my favorite: Maintain some independence. Allocate some funds for each person to spend as they please. A couple that I'm friends with couldn't be less compatible about money. She's an absolute cheapskate and he spends and spends. The end result: he can't buy a DVD without hearing shit from her! He finally threw down the gauntlet and just said look. I work for my money and I want to spend x amount of it on whatever the heck I want, and I don't want to hear about it. I think it's super important to respect your partner enough to give them some financial independence! Otherwise it's not an equal relationship - it's like a parent/child relationship.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Thanks for posting this list, Savvy. Marriage is definitely a union of EVERYTHING including incomes, expenses, dreams, and debts! It's no wonder that money is at the core of soooo many marital spats. I think getting your money habits in sync PRE-walking down the aisle is a must, it will save SO much grief later on.
oliveoyle625 oliveoyle625 8 years
sigh....if only some of these were easier to deal with or discuss......thanks for the post, very informative and good to know.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 8 years
i like!
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