In the first of regular money based Bridechilla podcast episodes, I welcome the host of Millennial Money podcast Shannah Game. we talk about joining finances, working as a team and dealing with student debt when it comes to planning your wedding and beyond. I am excited to extend this conversation and hopefully help you change your money saving and budgeting game!
Listen episode 313 of Bridechilla
Managing your money as a team
By Shannah Compton Game, CFP®, Millennial Money Expert, Host of Millennial Money Podcast
Managing money as a couple is not for the faint of heart – if you're knee-deep into your relationship you have an inkling of what I'm talking about. The experts all say that the two most controversial and difficult conversation topics with couples are sex and money. I can't help you out on the sex one, but I can help you with the money topic.
The most challenging aspect I've found both personally, and after working with couples for 12 years as a Certified Financial Planner, is that you're trying to approach a tough topic from an individual viewpoint versus the partnership view. Say what? What I mean is that you both come into the relationship with your thoughts and feelings about money. Often you've never expressed those feelings to anyone, including yourself. Let's face it; you want things your way.
I'm here to tell you that you can find peace and harmony (most of the time) with your partner around money. I've done it myself and helped many others as well. It takes some hard work and commitment, but I promise you it can be gratifying. Here are a few tips to help you move from "my way or the highway" to "we've got the best partnership."
1 – Set a don't ask, don't tell limit:
Find an amount of money that you're ok with your partner spending and vice versa each month without questions. The amount doesn't matter, but the point is if you're going to spend above that amount, you need to run it by your partner for a thumbs up.
2- Set regular money dates
It’s time to stop avoiding conflict by setting regular calendared money dates with your partner. It can literally be 10-30 minutes, but it’s a time where you regroup and talk about goals, what’s on the horizon, celebrate the financial victories and share any worries. Have these dates at a place you love – park, over happy hour, on a walk, etc.
3- Divide and conquer
When you’re both trying to do the same thing in two different ways your outcome will never be good. Figure out who will handle the finances day in and day out and who will be the metaphoric cheerleader keeping you both pointed in the right direction towards your goals. The partnership is key, so play to each of your strengths.
Photo by Brooke Cagle
4- Figure out your baseline number
This should be the #1 tip, but I'm saving it for last, so hopefully it sticks. It's critical to know your numbers – meaning, knowing how much it takes to run your household at the bare minimum. I'm not talking dinners out and fancy shopping, but what are the bills you must pay (including groceries because you must eat). Once you get there, you both know what it takes to pay the bills, and you can begin to build a roadmap with any excess funds each month. Want to go on a dream vacation? Great, how much do you need to put away each month to achieve that goal? Want to quit your job and start a business? Great, what will you need to cut back on or minimally make to have the numbers work? Knowing your baseline numbers gives you options for your finances and can keep you both pointed in the same direction.
I'm so passionate about helping couples because I've not had an easy marriage journey. I got divorced in my early 30's and lost almost all of my assets through the divorce. I'm now happily remarried, but through these stages of life, I've learned what it means to be in a real partnership with your partner and how important it is to have the tough conversations around money so you can indeed be on the same page.
If you want to hear more tips and advice, you can find me on my own podcast, Millennial Money, where I dish tips, answer questions and feature stories of other cool people who are trying to figure out this life and money journey.
I’m also a Certified Financial Planner with an MBA and am passionate about helping women entrepreneurs become bold in their life, business and finances. I started my first business when I was 19 in college, Hometown Cinema, and bleed entrepreneur. When I’m not podcasting or helping other amazing women, I’m a Lecturer in Finance at California State University Northridge teaching financial literacy to the next generation of students.
Show image by Sarah Diniz Outeiro