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May 2018

Make the Honeymoon Last: Money & Marriage
May 29, 2018

Wedding season is in full swing in Montana. You might be dreaming of galloping/hiking/kayaking into the sunset with your true love. But before hitting the trail of life together, few conversations are as important in planning your partnership as finances. Research says money is one of the top relationship stressors. Making an effort to understand each other’s values and goals can go along way towards keeping your relationship healthy.
So how do you start the conversation? Consider questions like these:
What do we want our financial future to look like?
Follow up: How do we want to achieve that together?
How will we handle saving as couple?
Follow up: How are we going to prioritize long-term and short term goals?
What do we each expect for communication around spending?
Follow up: Is there a dollar amount threshold for approval by the other?
These questions may also spark communication about why your partner feels the way they do. When you hear a deeper motivation, pay special attention. Learning that your spouse-to-be has a fear of not having adequate retirement funds or has a secret dream to start their own business may help add empathy to a disagreement over spending.
Every relationship is unique—and how you handle your finances together will be no different. Once you have common ground on your goals, the next step is figuring out the logistics. There are several basic models for setting up checking and savings accounts as a couple:

•Shared accounts:all checking & savings accounts are pooled household accounts. Personal expenses for each individual come out of the household account(s).You may choose to have just one checking and one savings account, or might have multiple accounts for specific purposes.

•A joint household checking account, with individual accounts for personal expenses. This might lead to another conversation about the percentage each person contributes towards household expenses. If there is an income disparity, some couples choose to contribute as a percentage of their take home pay.

•Separate accounts, with each individual responsible for their own checking and savings accounts. Couples might choose to divide household bills and each send a check to the utility company. Another approach is for one person to pay the mortgage, while another pays the daycare and grocery bills.Whatever structure you choose, there are tools to make communication and management easier.
Online and mobile banking can help you stay abreast of balances – especially important when there are two people drawing from a combined account. Enrolling in overdraft protection or setting up an automatic sweep from savings can help provide a buffer in the event of a miscommunication. Remember, we’re here to help.
Wishing you Success.Together. in your new life!