Managing Money as a Couple


Man and Woman looking over finances together

My wife and I have been together for six and a half years, married for half of a year (cue blissful music) and have been talking and managing money as a couple all the while. Though we are a young couple, we don’t believe our lack of tenure precludes us from having perspective. We’re fortunate to have been able to observe and learn from our families and friends.

Money means different things to different people and every couple operates uniquely. While what my wife and I do works well for us, it may not work well for you and yours.

Rather than tell you about the specific strategies and transactions we make as a couple, here are a few steps and principles to serve as a guide for financial (and marital) bliss:

  1. Know thyself – The first step to managing money as a couple is learning to manage money for yourself. Knowing where and how you individually spend your money will allow each party to communicate what is important to them as individuals and allow the couple to manage money in a way that is best for each person as well as the whole.
  2. Challenge each other – Checks and balances are important, as well as challenging each other’s assumptions on what is “want” vs. “need”. Find ways to check and challenge each other against your shared couple goals to avoid one person making unchecked decisions – make it a shared responsibility.
  3. Prioritize it – The simple things are often the hardest to do well consistently. Prioritizing time and communication for both parties to review, discuss, track, update and decide is the most important part – reiterating: make it a shared responsibility.

These points are intended to be simple. The “gurus” on Tik-Tok or Instagram that offer secrets or hot tips often disillusion people with survivorship bias. Managing money as a couple (or an individual for that matter) does not have to be rocket science nor does it involve special instructions. Understand the basics, practice them for yourself first and, above all, prioritize tracking and communication.

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