Last weekend I was at a used book outlet in rural Virginia and I came across an inexpensive copy of Deborah Knuckey‘s Conscious Spending for Couples. Knuckey is a free lance author and marketer. She’s written a number of interesting articles on a wide variety of topics. For example, she’s penned on extreme dating, politics, laser facial rejuvenation and – our favorite – personal finance for couples. More importantly, she’s been on Oprah.
To make a long story short, Knuckey says couples should do seven things:
1) Plan Together: Set your goals jointly and come up with a realistic financial plan.
2) Create Simple Financial Structure: Whatever one’s situation, a simpler account structure limits fees and makes it easier to get things done.
3) Get Into Good Habits: To minimize friction and expenses couples should avoid frittering away cash and and stay focused on managing big bills.
4) Communicate Through Conflict: Most fights are about what money is spent on. To avoid meltdowns, partners should listen, acknowledging and sharing their views.
5) Invest for Strong Returns: The main goal of investing is to grow your money. Focus on making moderate calculated risks to maximize your return.
6) Create a Safety Net For Two: Prepare for the worst by purchasing proper insurance policies and making an adequate estate plan.
7) Get Help When Its Needed: Hire the relevant financial planners, accountants, estate planners and insurance agents based on likability and competence.
All in all, Conscious Spending For Couples is a good read for people who are starting out as a couple (like us DINKs!). The book has an easy accessible style and emphasizes the important impact being in a relationship can have on ones finances. Many author’s ignore this point and assume that being in a couple is like being single in terms of your personal finance. This simply is NOT the case, as anyone who is married can tell you.