Being on the same page financially with your partner is really important, but only 1 in 5 couples make important financial decisions together.
Local financial advisor Sam Gaeta from Defined Financial Planning is here with three questions you should discuss with your partner right now.
Q: Why is this a good time to talk about money?
· One-third of couples say finances are a big source of stress in their relationships. It is also one of the main causes of divorce.
· During the pandemic, more financial stressors were added to the mix, like job loss, working from home, and trying to find a way to make ends meet during these uncertain times.
· Now that the world is opening up, now is a great time to start talking about your financial habits and budget for the future. You will be more successful financially if you work as a team!
Q: What are some questions couples should ask themselves?
- Do we have an emergency fund?
· A recent study found that 51% of Americans want to improve the way they save for unexpected expenses.
· For many people, the pandemic has forced them to dip into these emergency funds and now many are focused on rebuilding their savings.
· Start by creating a budget so you know how much money you can contribute to your emergency fund each month.
· Discuss the income of each of you, review your monthly bills, agree on what is considered “our” expenses and decide how much to put in a savings account.
I have a budget spreadsheet on my website, definiplanning.com, to get you started.
2. How much debt do we have?
· Getting your debt under control should be a financial priority after the pandemic. A new poll found that 51% of American adults added to their credit card debt during the pandemic. This was up 23% from May 2020.
· As a couple, take an inventory of your debts, including how much you owe and the interest rates you are paying.
· A debt worksheet can help you keep track of balances, due dates, minimum payments, and interest rates, and I have one on my website.
· Setting up automatic payments can help make sure you don’t miss any payments. Getting hit with late fees only adds to the problem.
3. Are we saving enough for retirement?
· The pandemic has prevented millions of Americans from contributing to their retirement accounts.
· Get your retirement savings back on track by including them in your monthly budget.
· Set aside money, even if it’s a small amount, each month by direct deposit or direct deposit so you won’t be tempted to spend it.
Q: How can couples keep their finances on track?
· Be kind to yourself and your partner during this stressful time. It’s okay to make mistakes and adjust things along the way.
· Hold an informal quarterly meeting to make sure you and your partner stay on the same page.
· Consider meeting annually with a financial professional who can help make sure you’re on the right track.