Three Financial Resources for Couples

by Dual Income No Kids on February 9, 2010 · 3 comments

I’ve been told numerous times by a number of people that the most important tool for developing and maintaining a positive romantic relationship (or any relationship for that matter) is communication. I certainly believe this to be the case; any problems that my wife and I have been forced to deal with usually either get resolved or at least dealt with at an acceptable level through talking it out. This is actually not a difficult process for me (when the conversation is about money that is, feelings and emotions are more difficult subjects entirely) but even so, we all could use a little help at times.

Having a productive conversation about money can be difficult at times. Discussing hopes and dreams are easy, but the discussion is much more complicated when you actually start bringing up numbers. It’s at that time when it can be helpful to have a few resources at hand to help guide financial discussions with your significant other.

1) The first resource that we’ve use is Quicken, 2010 edition. I’m a very visual-oriented person, so for me it’s one thing to be told that we brought in ‘x’ amount of money and spent ‘y’ amount, but if I can see it in a pie chart, I can digest the data a little bit easier. Having colorful graphs is a good way to summarize data and display it in a very readable format. I started using Quicken simply because I knew that my dad used it and liked it so my experience with other software products is a bit limited. I did dabble a little bit with Mint.com and liked it but Quicken works for me and my wife, so I have continued to use it. There are plenty of products out there that do the same type of thing, so I would suggest trying a couple of them out and picking the one you like and using that.

Second, I think it’s an interesting characteristic of the personal finance community, but it seems like we like our books. Normally, I don’t like “couple’s books”, but I had the opportunity to read one that I really liked. It’s called “Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with your Honey” by Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar. I was pretty trepidatious when I first started reading the book, but I really started to like it. The book is divided into three sections, each tackling a different aspect of discussing finances. The first helps you get cement some of your personal beliefs on money in a way that will help you communicate them to a partner. The second deals with having the money talk with your significant other, and the third is about sustaining your financial plan and planning for the future. The book pretty much covers all the questions you should be asking yourself and your partner about financial philosophies, as well as things to keep in mind as you progress in your relationship (for instance, planning for children). Like I said, I enjoyed it a great deal and found it very useful. There are numerous books out there on planning your life together as a couple from a financial standpoint, and I suggest you browse some of the more popular titles and find one that both you and your partner enjoy and find useful.

Third, an essential financial resource for couples is a retirement calculator. They are all pretty close to the same thing, but I like Kiplinger’s the best. Retirement is often what people refer to as the “ultimate goal”. Utilizing a retirement calculator can help you set your goals as well as make sure that you’re on track to achieving those goals.

There are all sorts of tools that you can use to start a conversation with a loved one about money; those are just the three that I have found to be useful. Readers: how do you talk about money with your significant other? Have you found other tools to be helpful?

Michael

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 20smoney February 10, 2010 at 10:07 am

Potential alternatives for Quicken are stuff like Mint.com or a nice Google Spreadsheet :)

2 J. Money February 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Big fan of both Getting Financially Rich book AND Kiplinger's stuff…very very good resources for sure.

3 Griff with the 5G Financial Freedom Team February 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Good resources. There are a lot of couples that need help with finances that's for sure.

Have you thought about Mint.com as another alternative to quicken? It's free and automatic which is a huge plus in my mind.

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