Are couples and money incompatible? Is financial planning doomed to be a kill-the-love? Here are some tips to manage money in a couple to help you manage the money duet without ruining your relationship.
1. Break the taboo surrounding money
Did you know that money is one of the most common sources of conflict in a couple?
For love and money to continue to rhyme, do not bury your head in the sand and wait until the financial problems are solved on their own.
Create the abscess and agree to talk about money, budget, finances, investments and sharing expenses, even if you do not want to.
Do not dismiss any subject, including the pay gap that might separate you from your chosen one or the sharing of expenses if one of you 2 does not receive his full salary.
If the rules are well defined from the start, you reduce the risk of bitterness and financial disputes, misunderstandings and deceptions.
If the financial management is entrusted to only one person in the couple, the other exposes himself to be in ignorance.
Get involved in paying bills and developing the family budget. Discuss all the points together to avoid misunderstandings and frustrations. Set your common priorities.
Here, it’s not about trusting one another, but about making informed financial decisions with transparency.
3. Make a budget, the important things in tips to manage money in a couple
With a budget, you’ll be able to know exactly what’s in your pocket and what’s coming out of it. By having the right time, you will be able to adjust the shot and make the right decisions.
To compile your income, the exercise will be relatively simple. It’s for expenses where it gets complicated. A good thing? Use your bank statements and credit cards.
Fixed expenses (mortgage, car loan, insurance, etc.) must be divested from those whose amount varies greatly from week to week (groceries, gas, clothing, etc.).
It is also when developing a budget that you must agree on how you will pay for personal expenses. Is the couple or the individual doing it? It’s up to you to see and discuss!
In these personal expenses, you must also add the personal debts that you accumulated before and during your union.
4. The Pro-rata, 50/50 or all in common?
There are 3 methods for managing a couple’s finances.
There is no good or bad way. Everything is a matter of preference … and communication to choose the one that suits you.
With the prorate, it is the equity which prevails according to the income of each spouse and also the priorities of each one, without affecting your way of life.
If one of the couples wants to travel by car while the other opts for public transit, this reality will be reflected in pro-rated financial planning.
Be careful, however, of the time spent on calculating expenses and income each month. One can be a little more stunned … even with a joint account.
This method of sharing is the one most observed among spouses with substantially the same financial picture:
- interests and hobbies
- amount invested
Simplicity lovers and those who have a relationship with similar money are also adopting half and half.
There are some disadvantages, such as being easily challenged if one of you 2 is in a financial bind or if your financial situation changes dramatically.
We often say “One for all, all for one”. That’s the philosophy behind pooling, regardless of your salary and lifestyle.
Couples who choose this method will tell you that they are first and foremost a team.
If they want to find their account, they must have the same financial priorities and the same relationship with the money so as not to accumulate frustrations on both sides.
With pooling, the spouse who has a lower salary than the other is more at risk of financial precariousness in case of separation … unless you foresee the blow ( see point 8 ).
5. A joint account or not?
You have the choice to opt for a joint account or to keep your bank accounts and share expenses as you go.
Here is a question of choice.
Your decision may also change over time. She is often guided by important events such as the birth of a child or the purchase of a house.
Be aware however that in case of death of one of you 2, access to your joint account could be frozen during the succession.
A personal bank account is then recommended, not to put all your eggs in one basket.
6. Marriage vs. common-law
Many common-law spouses believe they have the same rights as married couples after one year of cohabitation.
It is not so and the awakening can be brutal, whether you have children together or not!
In the event of separation, the common-law partner is not entitled to
- a division of the family residence if the property is in the name of the other spouse
- a division of property
- a compensatory amount of money for work done at home (for example, if you do invisible work )
- a portion of the RRSP or pension fund of the other spouse
- an inheritance in the event of the death of the other spouse if he has not made a will
A good way to protect yourself is to make a will and a contract of living together.
7. Do not forget your retreats
The finances within your couple are not just to determine how to pay the expenses, but also how to save.
To plan your retirement effectively, you first need to establish your priorities and goals based on the retirement income you have available.
Unfortunately, it is possible that some of the disparities between you 2 exist, especially if one has a pension fund in which his employer is involved and the other spouse is having trouble contributing to his RRSP.
One of the strategies often adopted is to contribute to the spousal RRSP. For example, a person with a higher income who contributes to his or her spouse’s RRSP can deduct the amount contributed to his or her income tax return.
In any case, it is wise to develop your common retirement strategy with the help of your advisor.
Nobody likes to mention a separation as if the mere fact of talking about it would cast a bad spell …
Because we can not predict the future, it is better to discuss some scenarios in case of separation. Who will keep the house? How will the division of goods be orchestrated? What about the assets accumulated before and during your union?
Discuss all these options. Document them by going to the notary or by completing a contract of cohabitation. Thus, you will not have to go around the subject when you have many other cats to whip …
Hopefully, these tips to manage money in couple can be useful for you.