While in a relationship, one of the most stressful things and something many people fight about is money. At Be Secure Financially, we want you to be able navigate and take control of your finances whether you are a couple or single. Below is the article "Realistically Managing Debt As A Couple".
1. Compare Your Money Attitudes and Approach
Some people spend; others save. When a saver and a spender come together in a relationship or marriage, conflict, arguments and fights often follow.
Know which one you are. Do you spend? Or do you save? Does your significant other spend or save? Compare your habits to your spouse’s for valuable insight into how to handle your finances as a couple now and in the future.
Sit down, or order a pizza and just talk about money. See if your significant other is even comfortable talking about the subject. Discuss the role each of you will play in managing your money.
Will one of you or both be responsible to pay the bills each month?
Do you both work? Or will only one be earning an income?
Will you each contribute an equal amount of money toward household bills?
Will you divide expenses up differently?
Do you need or even want to ask for approval when making purchases?
Discuss your short and long-term goals and how your relationship or marriage may affect them.
2. Be Upfront About Your Debt
Okay this one can be tough on your own, let alone to actually discuss with your partner. Debt won't go away if you don't know how much you owe. Figure out how much you owe, then clear the air on debt. The way you approach this depends on whether one or both of you is bringing debt into the relationship or marriage.
Many couples choose to tackle past individual debt together. Others, particularly dual income can often take it individually. That’s for you two to decide. But first you need to know what you owe and how to realistically pay it down.
You can still make things work even if either of you doesn’t feel comfortable taking on the other’s debt. But that may mean that you have to take a closer look at your finances to come up with a realistic and fair compromise.
3. Negotiate If You Can
While it’s important to do your best to pay off debt on your own, you may be able to negotiate with creditors to reduce some debts.
You can call creditors and ask for temporary hardship status if you feel you may qualify. Call them and ask, you never know.
If you have had a true temporary hardship, some creditors may work out payment plans with you. If lost your job but now have a new one, and you’ve previously paid your bills, they may be able to help you even further.
4. Develop A Future Financial Plan
As you plan to move forward in your marriage, you and your spouse should work together to determine how you’ll avoid racking up unnecessary debt in the future, as well as where and what you want to spend your money on.
To avoid feeling trapped, determine an amount of money you can each spend, without consulting or even bringing it up to your partner.
“Extremes seldom work, so it is important that you carve out a little money in your budget that you both can still have fun with,” Repak says.
5. Communicate and Adjust As You Go
Your finances are like your relationship or marriage. They will change, you will have peaks and valleys, and you have to be able to realistically go into your financial future together. When things get tough, talk about it. If you are able to communicate, you can adjust your plans, goals and help each other stay on track to financial freedom.