Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar says, “Money isnt the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the gotta have it’ scale.” It is a fact that disagreement over finances has far-reaching effects on a couple’s relationship and can ultimately lead to the demise of a marriage. This is why, having regular conversations with your partner about managing money in your relationship is so critical for your relationship’s wellbeing.

To combine or not to combine

Here is a question I hear all the time from couples. “Should we combine or should we not?”

For some couples, putting all their money in one account is preferred, while for others keeping separate accounts is the practice.

For those who keep separate accounts, expenses are split, with each individual deciding on paying for particular bills. For example; one person may decide to pay for the grocery while the other pays for the utilities.

Couples who choose to combine their money use one joint bank account that they both contribute to on a monthly basis for all their home related expenses. Along with this arrangement, they also own two separate, personal accounts, where they keep their own spending money; allocations from the combined contributions. On top of that, they work together as a team on their long-term financial goals as well as major purchases, like cars, personal development and vacations.

So should you combine or should you not? It’s all up to you. However, couples who combine their money and handle their finances together, are generally more satisfied in their relationship.

Keeping spending in check

Spending without telling your partner can create major conflict in your relationship. To avoid this pitfall, be transparent with your finances. Sit down and talk about how much money you will allocate to daily and monthly financial activities. Both you and your spouse should sit down and create joint financial goals, based on the financial vision of the future you want to create.

Once you have identified some of the things you need to do to accomplish your dream, create a budget—a financial document used to project future income and expenditure—and use it as a way of tracking your spending behaviour. In creating your budget, always bear in mind that you need to spend less than you earn and invest the difference.

Have monthly and yearly money meetings

Life changes! And so will your money concerns as time progresses. This is why, in addition to creating a money-plan which includes a joint budget, you need to have monthly and yearly money meetings to keep abreast of your financial issues.

At your monthly meetings, talk about your current financial issues in order to ensure that you are spending within your budget and following your monthly financial plan.  At your annual meeting, take a look at your big money picture, like your retirement plan. Talk about your investments and assess whether or not you are both comfortable with where and how the funds are invested.

Make sure you are still in sync with each others desires and financial goals, such as vacations, buying your dream home, or your dream car. Have a conversation about job loss, career change, or development, relocating due to one spouse getting a job in another part of the country. Conversations on these issues may prove pertinent since changes in any of these areas may ultimately impact your pocket book.

The bottom-line

Though money cannot buy happiness, it helps and though money is not the most important thing in a relationship, it’s close to oxygen on the “got to have it” scale. This means managing money is going to be an important part of your relationship if you intend to have a satisfying love life.