So you’re in love. So you want to spend the rest of your life with someone. That’s all fine and dandy but what about the money. Nick and I had our share of arguments about money, but that’s because we met as teenagers and neither of us had any idea how to make, save or manage money. All we knew how to do was spend it and that led to big money woes.
I wish someone sat us down and said “Hey here are five things about money that every couple needs to know.” But no one did that so we had to learn on our own. We eventually did, it took almost a decade, but we did it.
I sat down with him and asked “What personal finance tip do you wish our parents gave us back when we were a young couple?” This is what he said:
Keep your bank accounts separate
At least until you’re ready to merge them. We made this mistake very early on and both our relationship as well as our money suffered for it. We met, dated and moved in together. Therefore we naturally thought our bank accounts should move in together too, but that’s not true.
Only when you can manage your own money can you merge your bank accounts as a couple. Trust me when I tell you that managing money as a couple is a heck of a lot harder than managing your own accounts.
Don’t get a credit card as a teenager
When we were a young couple I had a credit card and Nick didn’t. He saw how I was spending and ended up getting one too. This lead to a lot of (unnecessary) debt in our college years and several thousand dollars in interest charges.
When you’re a young couple dealing with the stress of life and learning to adjust to living together it’s hard to also worry about money. Not letting debt accumulate will definitely help your relationship.
Don’t buy anything joint until you’re at least 30
This is absolutely the one personal finance tip I have for young couples and Nick agrees. The biggest mistake we ever made was buying a car together in our 20s. Not necessarily because we both owned it and were both responsible for the massive $30,000 debt, but because we just weren’t ready to manage that kind of money together…or at all.
Before buying a house, car or anything else together I would suggest doing it separately. Money can equal stress and if you’re in a happy relationship you don’t want a reason to make it unhappy.
Travel together whenever possible
I love travelling and Nick not so much. So we find a happy compromise. We take one vacation together every year and then I travel alone or with friends all the other times I need to get away. When people are on vacation they’re usually worry free. This can be a nice break from the daily routine that couples fall in to.