Dealing with finances is one of the least fun aspects of being an adult. Dealing with finances when you’re in a committed relationship is even less enjoyable. Of course you love your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé, or whatever, but you don’t have to love the way they handle money. Seamlessly transitioning to a ‘we’ financial situation doesn’t have to be full of mistakes or a completely painful situation.
There are several ways to ensure that your financial future with your sweetheart isn’t going to be full of doom and gloom. Kiplinger recently released a list of 9 mistakes couples make with money. Here are the ones we thought would be of interest to Consumerist readers…
1. Have the ‘money talk’ before marriage. No, you don’t need to browse each other’s credit reports on the first date, but earlier you talk about it the better. As we recently wrote in this guide on merging your money when you marry, communication truly is key.
2. Remember to amend your single-filer tax returns. Now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a wedding, how about a little gift from the federal government? To do so, make sure you change your single-filer tax returns. If you somehow forgot you were married, you can go back as far as 2010 to amend previous filings and watch those tax bills drop.
3. Keep a separate bank account. What’s your is mine, unless it’s a personal bank account. Each person should have their own account for their splurges and a joint account can be used for boring things like paying the mortgage.
4. Share in the fun (or burden) of managing household expenses. Both members of the relationship should take active roles, unless of course you like doing a thankless job alone. Of course knowing the ins and outs of your household finances is always a plus if/when your partner dies or you break-up.
5. Plan for your future, your kids can deal with their own. Ask yourself are those children going to provide for you when you’re retired and all the money you had planned to put in your 401(k) actually went to their college education? Forego the college account and save for retirement instead. After all, your kid can just get a student loan and deal with their own crippling debt, right?
Isn’t money fun when you’re in a couple? Remember, you love your significant other, not their money.