Money can be a complicated aspect of marriage, especially when it comes to merging finances. Finding a system that works for both individuals can help couples achieve financial harmony.
“Figuring out a fair and comfortable way to share responsibilities and expenses can be challenging,” says Sam Goller, award-winning author of Yes, You Can... Achieve Financial Harmony and contributor to YesYouCanOnline.info. “But it’s essential for a healthy relationship. Couples should look at their monetary values and beliefs and work together to decide what type of system allows them to achieve their dreams as a couple.”
Talking about finances can be difficult for many people. Jim Stowers, co-author of the new book Yes, You Can... Reach Your Goals and Achieve Your Dreams, recommends asking questions to begin a dialogue.
“Asking questions is a good way to toss the conversational ball into the other person’s lap,” says Stowers. “It not only helps you learn their point of view, but also what they believe and the direction their thinking is taking.”
Goller suggests couples ask themselves the following five questions to help facilitate a discussion about spending and saving as a couple.
1. How many bank accounts will we have?
2. Who will pay the bills?
3. Are we getting our money’s worth for what we buy?
4. What are our money histories -- what did our parents teach us about money?
5. What dreams do we have as a couple? What do we need to do financially to accomplish these dreams?
A couple’s answers to these questions will help define a financial system that provides a foundation on which the relationship can grow. Goller offers three options for couples looking to merge their finances:
The Joint Account -- Whether checking or savings, this type of account allows couples to combine all of their financial resources. This option can make life easier for some couples by centralizing the household finances. However, if one person is in charge of managing the account, the other person can feel left out of the financial picture. It also requires that both partners diligently share when they use funds out of the account.
Separate Accounts -- Some couples prefer the autonomy of separate accounts. With this system both people are responsible for maintaining their own account, which may include paying some of the bills. If couples choose this option, Goller cautions that individuals may need to work harder to be equally involved in the financial relationship.
“Just because you have separate accounts, doesn’t mean your financial decisions have separate consequences,” says Goller. “You still need to meet on a regular basis and discuss how you are using your money to achieve your common goals.”
A Combination of Accounts -- A combination of joint and separate accounts is another viable alternative. This option allows both partners to contribute while maintaining their autonomy. Couples often determine a percentage of income that will be put in both the joint and separate accounts. Individual accounts can be used for personal purchases. The joint account can contain funds for bills and joint purchases. With a clear definition of who’s paying which bills couples can work together to bring financial balance and emotional harmony to the relationship.
“Regardless of the financial style a couple chooses, communicating about finances is key,“ says Goller. “The more you discuss how and why you each spend money, the deeper and stronger your relationship will grow.”
For more information on merging finances as a couple and achieving financial harmony, please visit www.YesYouCanOnline.info.
Source: ARAcontent© 2008 ARAContent
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