MAR­RIAGE AND MONEY: HOW DO I MAKE THIS WORK?

Best Health - - ADVICE - JOR­DAN CAMP­BELL, CFA, is a fi­nan­cial ad­viser as­so­ci­ate at Man­ulife Se­cu­ri­ties

THE AD­VISER SAYS… TRA­DI­TIONAL WED­DING

A vows in­clude the phrase “for richer or for poorer,” yet when it comes to money mat­ters, many cou­ples take a vow of si­lence. Whether you’re mar­ried or in a new re­la­tion­ship, it’s al­ways ben­e­fi­cial (and never too late) to have reg­u­lar and open dis­cus­sions about money to pre­vent your fi­nances from fes­ter­ing into an is­sue later on. Be­low are four ways that you can start the con­ver­sa­tion.

MAKE A MONEY MEMO

The first step to­ward open­ing the di­a­logue be­tween you and your part­ner and know­ing where each of you stands fi­nan­cially is to sim­ply write down a list of all bank ac­counts, in­vest­ments, credit cards, debts and in­sur­ance poli­cies that you both have.

An easy way to start this con­ver­sa­tion is to bring up the prac­ti­cal rea­sons for such a list, like hav­ing it in case of an emer­gency. In my ca­reer, I’ve had to help count­less wid­ows whose spouses had taken care of all the house­hold fi­nances and left them not know­ing what bills they had to pay or how their money was in­vested. A list could al­le­vi­ate some of the fi­nan­cial stress brought on by the death, dis- abil­ity, ill­ness or ex­tended ab­sence of a part­ner.

BOOK MONTHLY MONEY MEET­INGS

A list is great, but fi­nances fluctuate fre­quently. To stay on top of what is hap­pen­ing, set aside some time at the end of ev­ery month where you can dis­cuss any changes. Use your monthly bill pay­ments as a good ex­cuse to get the ball rolling and ease your way into hav­ing a money con­ver­sa­tion with your part­ner.

MON­I­TOR YOUR MONEY

A stick­ing point for many cou­ples is how each part­ner spends and/or saves money. Luck­ily, most banks and fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in Canada now have tools on their web­sites that will au­to­mat­i­cally cat­e­go­rize your spend­ing into easy-to-read pie charts. Dur­ing your monthly meet­ing, take a mo­ment to com­pare and con­trast how each of you spent and saved last month. If you think your part­ner is spend­ing too much in one area, this is a good op­por­tu­nity to point it out vis­ually and set a spend­ing goal for the next month. You can then re-eval­u­ate any progress at your next meet­ing.

MERGE YOUR MONEY

As you move into a long-term re­la­tion­ship with your part­ner, a joint bank ac­count may be­come the next log­i­cal step to man­ag­ing your money bet­ter. While com­bin­ing all of your ac­counts will un­doubt­edly sim­plify and stream­line your money sit­u­a­tion and keep you aware of each other’s fi­nances, there are those who will al­ways like hav­ing their own per­sonal ac­counts to main­tain a de­gree of fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence.

But it doesn’t have to be an all-ornoth­ing propo­si­tion. For ex­am­ple, you could still have sep­a­rate chequing ac­counts but also have a joint sav­ings ac­count that you both con­trib­ute to each month. You can use this joint sav­ings ac­count to­ward things that you’ll be do­ing to­gether as a cou­ple, such as sav­ing for a down pay­ment on a home or a va­ca­tion.

“FI­NANCES FLUCTUATE. TO STAY ON TOP OF WHAT IS HAP­PEN­ING, SET ASIDE TIME EACH MONTH TO CHAT.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.