You’ve got stars in your eyes. You’re in love. You’ve decided this is it – the one and only, the love of your life. It’s been a heady romantic whirl and now you feel ready for commitment. Oops. Now it’s time for practicalities to intrude on the love rush – practicalities like coping with joint finances.
Setting up a life together and planning for the future is exciting and fun but it can be all too easy to just go with the flow and forget the nitty gritty – like how you are going to manage your joint finances. A strong relationship that will withstand life’s glitches large and small is also a business relationship. Build a strong basis of teamwork from the beginning and your personal business will thrive – not only in terms of ROI (Return on Investment) but also Romance on Investment!
The simple fact is that couples who work as a team and manage their money well have less stress in their lives and more money for romance than those who don’t. Many an otherwise loving relationship has crashed and burned under financial stress. Don’t let it happen to you.
Begin with a clear-eyed and honest approach. Each spend a week noting down every cent you part with – from buying petrol to perfume, takeaway coffees to a new coiffure. Then settle down somewhere comfy for your first “business planning” meeting.
Here’s some tips for making the whole exercise easy and non-confronting:
Find a budget planning template or tool on the internet
Fill this in diligently with everything you both earn and your regular expenses on a monthly basis.
Take a good hard look at the final figures
If you need to cut back look at how you can trim expenses. If there is a tidy surplus, on the other hand, discuss how best this can be invested.
Look especially closely at any interest-accruing debts such as credit cards and car loans
Discuss ways to pay these off as quickly as possible. Could you consolidate your debts? Would it be possible to roll over all your credit card repayments to one credit card with zero interest for six to 12 months? Promise yourselves a treat when each debt is paid off – dinner at your favourite restaurant, a weekend getaway, even an overseas holiday. Paying high interest for years is as good as flushing money down the drain. Plan to do something more romantic with it!
Each make a wish list of your financial aims and what you would like in the future
Buying your own home will likely come up as the number one priority for you both. Saving for that first home deposit, however, will need real commitment from the two of you. How are you going to save for the deposit? How long will it take you to reach the amount of savings needed?
Now you are off to a good start with the financial practicalities, it’s time for a glass of bubbly and some chocolate and to concentrate on your KPIs – no, nothing as boring as Key Performance Indicators but Kiss Performance Indicators!
When it comes to relationships and finances do you think it’s a case of separating the two or are you for mixing business with pleasure? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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