Managing Couples Finances

by James & Miel on December 2, 2008 · 1 comment

Dealing with couples finance issues has a bit to do with finances and a lot to do with being a couple. After all the numbers themselves are only part of the equation. More important is how you relate to each other about finances.

Our main inspiration in starting this blog was to share our experience in navigating this process ourselves. Now we’ve gone from being and the cusp of getting married, to managing a year of long distance marriage, to now readjusting to a new honeymoon phase.

I mentioned to someone that we have a couples finance blog and they responded, “and you’re still married!” On reflection, here are the things that have helped us through this process:

Communication is the key to managing finances. Without being clear about expectations, it is very easy to fall short of both your partner’s expectations and your own.

Learn your partner. I say this in an active sense, as it is an on-going process. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can learn everything about your significant other and then move on. This means sensing when to engage in finance discussions and when to wait until a better time.

Room to breathe is a must. We believe in keeping our finances linked, but also giving each other space to do as we like. This includes giving room to make mistakes. We work for our goals jointly, but we manage most of our finances separately. The nitty gritty is that I don’t harangue James for spending on movie rentals (now netflix helps too!) and James doesn’t question (much) when I go out with friends or buy something new.

Goals are essential to both managing your finances and reaching your dreams. This is after all why you are with your partner, to pursue your life dreams together. Taking time to routinely set goals and establish what it is that you are focusing on in your lives will make you both happier, healthier and wealthier. Keep in mind that this doesn’t always mean being frugal. It might mean you jointly decide to splurge a bit on the comforts in life, doing so will be enjoyed rather than possibly resented.

Support is also part of a progressive relationship. There may be times when the support leans more one way or another, but you’ll know that they’ll be room to lean on your partner when you need it most.

Touch base often. For us, our blog helps to serve this purpose well. Before starting DINKs we often spent Saturday mornings dealing with pending financial issues and discussing our goals. Finances are fluid and need to be dealt with accordingly. Ignoring issues doesn’t help.

Readers: Please share what things you’ve found work best in supporting your relationship around finances.

Best,

Miel

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