There are many benefits of working to merge your finances in a relationship and it is much more than the convenience of not keeping track of every expense.
Working together allows you to more efficiently save and accomplish both your individual and joint goals. Better communication will also greatly assist in reducing stress around money. But there are also risks associated with starting to merge your finances so it is always a good idea to proceed gradually.
Here are three practical steps you can take:
Discuss Goals & Objectives
Take time to reflect on what are some of your most important goals and objectives. They can be financial or non-financial and short or long-term. Write down 2 to 3 of your top priorities and share these with your partner. Hopefully this will open up conversations surrounding your views and objectives and highlight similarities or differences.
Start down a path of gradually integrating your finances as you begin to work together. You don’t have to merge all your finances at once. It can be a gradual process, just like dating. Consider opening a joint credit card for shared expenses like groceries, entertainment, or dining.
Do not make it a one and done thing. Circle back to joint money discussions monthly or every other month. Use financial technology such as mint.com to track your individual expenses and budgets.
Review your progress and how you have have been spending money over time. Are there any patterns that emerge? Are there any new large expenses you want to start saving for? If there were big expenses that occurred how did you communicate about them? As you continue this process evaluate if you wish to consider taking additional steps such as starting to save towards joint goals.
GuidePoint Financial Planning - Northern Va Financial Planning
Ryan Phillips, CFP® is the founder of GuidePoint Financial Planning. He is passionate about helping busy families plan, save, and invest for their financial future. Contact him today if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of working with a fee-only (no-commission) financial planner.