If talking about money stresses you out, you’re not alone. Discussing money can be a huge taboo. Whether you’re talking to your boss about a raise or to your best friend about how much you owe her for dinner, talking about money can be very uncomfortable and that spills right over into your love life. In fact, money is often cited as one of the main causes of fights in marriages. A number of studies even show that money (or fights about money) are a leading cause of divorce. Ouch.
If you and bae get into fights about money sometimes, don’t fret – you’re definitely in the majority. So whether you’ve been together for a month or a decade, it’s important to know how to talk about the green and sometimes hearing how other people deal can help. From who’s going to pick up the check, to how to combine (or not combine) income, or to how to save for a major purchase (like, a wedding or a house), the topic of money will inevitably come up.
Let’s start at the beginning, who should pick up the check?
When Sahir and I started dating we were super young neither of us had money and so it was pretty much our part-time jobs or parents that were footing the bills for our Chili’s date nights. So my experience is pretty unhelpful here. What I’ve learned from some of my friend’s successful relationships and dating experience is that the person planning the date foots the bill – but that means you trade-off planning and paying for every other date night. That being said, when he’s “courting” you – he should pay or if you are super woke and courting him – YOU should pay! #feminism
What about when you are married?
I will say that people consider getting married they think a lot of the longterm financial integrity of their assets if their marriage isn’t successful. But I think that those conversations need to happen before you get married and about your marriage, not in case of divorce. Money talks are some of the most important to have with your partner. Whether you choose to have separate accounts, a joint account, or a combination of both. There is no right or wrong answer here. The correct answer is the one that works for you and your partner.
I have friends who span the spectrum of options when it comes to money management. Some of them lump everything together and others decide on an amount or percentage that they will deliver into a joint account to pay things like bills. For example: If partner 1 makes $10,000 a month and partner 2 makes $5,000 a month and they both put 50% into a joint account – that means that partner 1 puts in $5,000 and partner 2 puts in $2,500 totally $7,500 in a joint account. Pro Tip: You should discuss what expenses are covered by the joint account and what should be handled by your personal account.
As far as my relationship goes, Sahir and I decided early on that we would keep a one-time, small amount aside in personal accounts to handle our own things (i.e. he sets up a weekly basketball game and rents out a gym and I run my side business) Putting that in a different account helps from getting mixed in with our personal finances. Once that small amount was put aside, everything else goes into a joint account. Our paychecks are direct deposited into that and all of our bills are paid through the joint. Once we save up a certain amount, we shift money into our joint savings account.
Some couples choose to keep individual accounts entirely, but this is the method that works best for us. We were lucky in the sense that neither of us came into the marriage with any debt, so the process can definitely get more complicated. The way we thought about it was: Aside from what salary either of us made, we came into this marriage with about the same amount saved up and we are supporting our family together. If anything was to ever go awry, we would split everything 50/50.
OKAY…HOW DO WE TALK ABOUT A BUDGET?
The word “budget” scares people and I get that, but budgets don’t mean not having any money to spend. It’s actually the opposite. Budgeting allows you to tell your money where to go so you DO have money to spend and it keeps you from spending money on dumb things. Unless, of course, you budget them in. Sahir and I tried Mint accounts for a while but honestly got a little tied up with the details between my business and his work expense account. Now we keep “goals” for saving vs a monthly budget, but I can see us revisiting that when we plan for the future.
JUST FOR FUN…
What do you think bae spends too much money on?
I wish I had a good answer for this. Sahir works super hard and doesn’t like to indulge, but when he does it’s something crazy like season tickets to the Atlanta Falcons. Apparently, we go zero to a couple thousand real quick.
What would he say you spend too much money on?
Clothes! He is convinced that since I get a package every day, I paid for it. I mean… there is no proof of that. People just send me things. Can’t help it! 😉I should invest in that doormat that says “Please hide packages from husband”?
Money can be tricky, mainly because there is no RIGHT way to deal with it…especially when it comes to relationships. But if there’s one thing I can recommend, it’s that you have to communicate, make a plan and figure out what works best for you. Whether you’re splitting the check, making one comprehensive budget or coming up with the perfect formula to combine your accounts – just make sure you are both on board!