1. Sharing is Caring When it Comes to Goals: Each individual comes into the relationship with fundamentally different experiences and outlooks that drive behavior. You need to share your financial goals, memories and habits to gain a better understanding of one another’s financial personalities.
2. You’ve Shared, Now Set: Setting goals establishes a mutually-agreed upon objective that you both commit to achieve. Together, create a household budget, which will serve as your spending and savings plan to help you achieve your goals.
3. Share Responsibility: By working in concert, you both become vested in all decisions, reducing the friction that can come when there is a single decision-maker. Set aside a scheduled time (e.g., bi-weekly or monthly) to discuss finances. Review your budgeting, upcoming expenses and any changes in circumstances.
4. You Bought What?!: You earn your own money so expecting spending latitude is perfectly reasonable. However, large expenditures that impact you both financially should be discussed ahead of time. Sit down and agree to a dollar amount over which neither of you can spend without the consultation and agreement of the other.
5. Update and Revise: You will need to update the beneficiaries on your accounts, reevaluate your insurance coverage and revise (or create) wills.
6. Love, In Action: Financial topics can become contentious. Discuss these issues with care and understanding, be honest about money decisions you’ve made that might upset your spouse, and trust your spouse to be responsible.
7. Work with a Financial Professional: A trusted financial professional has the experience, expertise and objectivity to help you work through the critical financial decisions that all married couples face.
With a little bit of work, self-awareness and patience, you can avoid the relationship stress that money can cause, leaving you the time and energy to tackle those in-law challenges.