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Building a Healthy Financial Relationship with Your Partner

April 12, 2024

What’s the best way to successfully handle money in a relationship? Here’s the secret. There isn’t just one way. The best way is the one that works for you and your partner.

Talking about money can be uncomfortable or even stressful for many couples, whether you are just starting out or have been together a long time. But when it comes to family finances, communication is key. Here are a few things to keep in mind.


This may be easier said than done, but simply starting a conversation with your partner about your finances is important. Think about a time you sat down with your partner to plan a trip or vacation. It takes work to mutually agree on a location and decide on hotels, attractions, etc. The same is true when discussing money matters. Let your partner know what you would like to talk about and find a time and place that works for both of you to have a conversation.  The earlier you start these conversations in a relationship and the more frequently you have these conversations, the easier it will become.


When it comes to money and relationships, unmet expectations can cause conflict. If you’ve always thought you would buy a house within the first year after getting married, you might feel let down when you celebrate your first anniversary in the apartment you’re renting. Unrealistic expectations can pave the way for money problems in your relationship. Talk with   your partner about your dreams and how best to achieve them, together. Maybe you need to focus on getting your money in order now so that later you can make your dreams a reality.


Perhaps you are perfectly content shopping at thrift stores when you need to update your wardrobe, but your partner loves to buy name-brand items at full price. If you have an income that doesn’t support expensive taste, that’s going to be a problem. This is where constant communication and compromise come in. The bottom line is your lifestyle needs to line up with your actual income—not what you wish it was.


Instead of stressing about the idea of making financial goals, think about how fun and exciting planning and mapping out your financial future as a couple will be. It’s a chance to share and discuss both your dreams and hopes for the future.  Start by agreeing to common goals and big-ticket goals first. Write them down and keep them visible so they remain top-of-mind. Goals may include getting out of debt, saving to pay for your wedding, a home, child’s education, buying a car, a vacation or even retirement. Then create a budget to help you move towards these goals.


You’ve probably set up a basic spending and saving plan, separated bills, or even opened a joint bank account. But, as life changes and evolves, so must your budget. If you or your partner get a raise at work, you may want to increase your 401(K) contributions. Or if you have a child, setting up a college saving plan may make sense. As your life and goals change over the years, your budget needs to change, too.


Nearly one in three adults admit to “cheating” financially on their partner by either overspending, holding secret debt or keeping a secret credit card or account. Talking about finances openly and honestly can help avoid this type of financial deceit with your partner. Couples don’t need to merge all their finances, but being open about accounts you each have, overspending, hidden debt, etc. is key to building financial trust. Financial honesty and transparency will help you reach your shared money goals.


Even with similar financial values, couples are bound to clash in some areas. For example, one partner might see private school tuition as the most important way to spend money on their children, while the other might believe that exposing their kids to different cultures through regular travel is more important. The key is to respect the other person’s point of view and be willing to compromise. You are not going to agree on every single money decision. The goal is more about finding a way to make financial decisions and solve problems together throughout your life together. Having an open relationship with money will help you learn to navigate money decisions in a healthy, productive way that makes everyone feel heard.

As you and your partner establish financial goals and define your money relationship, feel free to reach out to one of Town & Country’s financial coaches. They will be happy to talk with you about products available to help your “yours, mine and ours” financial life as well as share advice, resources, and tools to help get and stay you on track to reach your financial goals. Visit; call 800.649.3495 to schedule an appointment today.

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