The biggest decision we make when it comes to our money is who we share our homes with. Often, this isn’t a financially motivated decision (unless you want to marry rich), but our relationships significantly impact our finances. In the case of our upcoming nuptials, the room for synergies is immense, but so are the obstacles.
How We Combine Our Money Before Marriage
If we don’t discuss money with our significant other, then over time, we naturally blur our financial habits with theirs and ultimately see a higher overall spend.
That process doesn’t interest us because it is messy, uncoordinated, and not conducive to building wealth.
Instead, we decided to get on the same page; common goals stemming from two sets of like values.
Yes, there is some overlap between our goals, but there are also differences as we are two different people. I enjoy the occasional bottle of scotch that might run close to $100 a bottle. My fiancee enjoys wine and our cats… last year the number of cats in our house doubled! From 1 to 2, but I think we’re sticking to a 1:1 kitty to human ratio 😉
Once our goals are in alignment, which is the vast majority of the work, then we’re able to rely on each other as two heads are better than one.
Hashing out our goals was tough. We discovered that asking ourselves, “What does X really mean to us?” was the trick.
For example, if we ask ourselves, “What does money mean to us?”, our answer would probably be short, “money means financial freedom.”
On the other hand, when we ask ourselves, “What does financial freedom mean to us?”, we would respond with the next layer. In our case it meant escaping the paycheck to paycheck cycle and therefore, we develop our options.
We ask ourselves this question until we distill the answer down to its core.
For me, it’s growth. When I’m growing, I’m more than just happy. I’m engaged and fulfilled.
For my fiancee, it’s independence; doing something for the love of labor rather than desperation or necessity.
It helps to have a neutral, safe environment when discussing money topics.
I wouldn’t want to bring up money for the first time during a hectic family party, for example.
Lastly, it helps to remind ourselves we’re in the middle of a long road.
If we find that we disagree on an approach to investing or a money saving opportunity, then we step back and try to view the whole picture.
What is your experience when it comes to personal finance and relationships? What has worked and not worked for you?
P.S. As usual, here’s a podcast version of this same topic!