Ways For Couples to Manage their Finances
February 13, 2022
Finances can be one of the most stressful issues in relationships and marriages. Almost every couple is unique in how they choose to handle their finances. No solution is one size fits all and it is important for every couple to have discussions about their finances and how they wish to handle them. This week in the Wall Street Journal there was an article where different couples were asked how they handle their finances. These are some of the most impactful and insightful ways that these couples chose to approach their finances.
Mine & Yours
In this approach, the couple chose not to combine their finances when married. The idea behind this was stated as personal control. An expense tracker is used to track shared bills while when personal purchases are made they simply spend their own money. This also leads to the need to communicate and work together when making major purchases as a couple. In this way, the separation of account means stressing the importance of communication.
This couple chooses to combine their income and split it into 3 different buckets and save 20% of income. Bucket one is spending money in their joint checking account which is 70% of income. This bucket goes to monthly bills and regular monthly spending. Bucket two is 5% for one spouse to buy things like gifts and entertainment for the other. Bucket three is another 5% and is the same as bucket two but for the other spouse. A bucketing approach is an interesting approach because it is a predetermined plan that the couple agreed upon and sticks to.
This couple chose to have everything be joint except for retirement accounts. This couple still maintains meetings and discusses their finances and cash flow however their checking and savings accounts are joint. The only non-joint part of this strategy is each spouse's retirement accounts where they choose the investments and contributions.
Regular Family Meetings
This family has joint finances but one spouse makes significantly more than the other. This led to the lesser-earning spouse feeling the need to ask the other spouse for permission before purchases. This led to this couple developing a budget and scheduling monthly family financial meetings. These meetings include the kids in this way the whole family is on the same page about spending and cash flow.
Every family is different and therefore different strategies work for different couples. These strategies are just a few mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article and can offer some inspiration in developing your plan. If there is one takeaway to have from these plans it is that communication is key when it comes to managing family finances. Through communication, many issues surrounding finances can be avoided.