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9 July 2020 | 4 min read

How To Combine Two Incomes {And Not Kill Each Other In The Process}

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“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change’ – This was Dr Wayne Dyer’s iconic quote that fits as a great solution to many problems. Speaking of which, money is often seen as the number one problem that couples tend to fight about the most. This can be taxing, especially when you and your significant other have different perspectives about the ways that your money should be saved and spent. 

Whether you’re getting married or moving in together, joining assets with your significant other can feel unnerving. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the transition smoother. No two relationships are the same, so you might have to try different combinations of these tactics to find the one that works best for both of you.

Investigate

It’s essential to dig deep and come to terms with who you are, fiscally. Before discussing finances with your partner, assessing your spending habits might be a bitter but wise pill to swallow. Flesh out your purchases over the past few months, review them, and make observations that help you categorize all of them in order of priority. 

Some moves may surprise you, like a tremendous amount spent on the local commute or food in a particular month. You may already begin to see areas you’d like to cut back on. Guess what that makes you? Self-aware!

Understand Roots

 Instead of focusing on the difference of opinions, commence the process by trying to understand how your significant other was brought up. Were they raised in a home where they were taught to pinch pennies? Or, where they raised in a home where they were able to buy whatever they wanted? Often, people have difficulty leaving their upbringing behind when it comes to creating their way of managing money. 

 We often mimic the money management systems that our parents use, which might not work when we bring another person into our lives. Understanding why they are the way that they are in terms of finances can help open the door for some clear conversations.

 Plan & Set Common Goals

Divide and rule or united we stand? With couples, both work. The first big decision most couples will make is whether to have a joint bank account or stick to separate ones? There are many more managerial items to dive into so that you can plan common goals together. Consider whether you will have a budget. 

Who will be responsible for paying the bills? Who will tackle investments? Can we have a ‘fun money’ account set aside for common goals like a vacation or ‘Priority money’ set aside for paying debts? Nothing you decide is set in stone. Agree to come back to the drawing board in a few months if your current system isn’t working and have regular budget meetings if need be. 

Another important goal that couple should plan for especially for the long term is to invest their money strategically. This is because with inflation and higher cost of living, it is essential to plan your financial future and for this Mutual Funds is the best way. And if you are confused where to begin, digibank has you sorted – they give you handpicked portfolio insights, goal-based planning sessions, analyses your portfolio and sends you communication tailored to your specific needs – to ensure your investments keep growing every single time. 

You can download digibank here.

Build Trust 

Are you one of those who’d wait until you’re married to share your financial profile with your partner? Well, that’s not wise. It’s advisable to communicate openly and converse honestly about finances while you’re still dating. No one likes surprises {unless you have a secret inheritance, in which case, go ahead}. 

Discuss each other’s bank accounts, assets, savings, and current debt if any. Educate your partner about what it costs to be you, and this can avoid a lot of stress down the line. Additionally, it’s essential to take note of your partner’s relationship with money while you’re dating and address any red flags early on. Establishing trust makes a strong foundation for managing money as a couple. 

Be Gentle

Let’s face it. Talking about finances is a vulnerable topic for many. Your partner might not be the best at handling difficult conversations, but you could keep your behaviour in check. Being kind, sensitive, and using non-judgemental tones while discussing your financial concerns will help keep matters under control. Remember to be open-minded and approach each conversation from a united standpoint by using “we” statements. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s only healthy to include your partner frequently in purchasing decisions. While they most likely won’t have a strong opinion on the t-shirt you want to buy, by adding them in your decision-making process, you’ve initiated an environment of respect and consideration. 

 

by Megha Panjabi
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