Over the past couple of years, you and your boo have been navigating the post-honeymoon phase with aplomb. You asked all the right questions before moving in together; you split up chores, which somehow improved your relationship. And now, you’re thinking of combining your finances like a couple of seriously adulting adults! But before you take the bank account-blending plunge, read these top five tips from the Director of Strategic Alliance at Apprisen, Natasha Bishop, on how to do it right.
1. Start slow. Natasha says a good first step to financial coupledom is to continue to keep separate accounts and open a joint account that you both contribute to every month. You can use this money for shared expenses, like rent and groceries, or shared fun, like dinners out and weekend getaways. This will get you both comfortable talking about money openly and learn about each other’s spending habits in a non-threatening way.
2. Don’t keep secrets. Secret accounts, that is. Even if you do continue to keep separate bank accounts, Natasha warns to never hide spending from your boo. Of course, this doesn’t mean sending your sweetie a detailed spreadsheet of every latte you picked up over the last month. But it does mean that if you have credit card debt from a serious shopping habit, it’s always better to be up-front about it.
3. Be open. “Having open and honest conversations about your finances are key to a healthy relationship,” Natasha says. She goes on to say that it’s important to “have a conversation with your [S.O.] about each of your financial priorities and habits. You want to make sure you are working toward the same financial goals.” This leaves little room for (unwelcome) surprises and is sure to bring the two of you even closer.
4. Stay tuned in. Natasha reminds us that, just because you’ve decided to combine finances, it doesn’t mean you can step back and let the other person take care of the numbers. Make sure you’re both in control of your bank accounts, shared and personal. If something were to happen to either of you, “You want to feel capable and in charge of your financial situation, instead of having the added worry and anxiety of having to educate yourself on your own financial matters,” Natasha says.
5. Talk to a professional. “Financial advisor” may sound scary (and scary expensive), but Natasha advises that if either you or your boo have significant financial assets, you’ll want to get the uncomfortable legal stuff settled and out of the way before you embark on shared economic bliss.
Have you and your S.O. recently joined finances? Tweet us @BritandCo and tell us how it’s going!