Why Couples Should Plan and Dream About Finances Together

"I'm really not interested in this." "She makes all the decisions." "I trust him." "I don't even want to know what's going on." "She earned it, so she decides what we do with it."

If you have ever uttered any of these words, or at least thought of them, then this column is for you.

One of the key advantages for couples working with a financial planner is they sit down together to discuss what to do with their money. There are several benefits in doing this, regardless of how uncomfortable those discussions can be.

Being actively involved in joint decision making helps equalize the power in relationships. Money decisions need to be made together, regardless of who is bringing in the money.

The "deal" may be one person stays at home while the other person works, but the "deal" should not be that the stay-at-home partner has no say or is forced to capitulate on money choices. Uncomfortable conversations are at least conversations. It is better to talk through resentments than pretend they don't exist.

Being actively involved with your money means that you are more prepared should something happen to your partner or your marriage. Losing a spouse can be overwhelming.

In all marriages, each partner takes some responsibility and depends on the other spouse for other items. While it is OK to have one partner pay the bills or handle the investments, both partners should still be engaged in discussions. It is helpful to have at least quarterly meetings to go through things together.

We have worked with many divorcees who were not involved in their family finances and are starting from ground zero. Not only does this lack of engagement make the separation more difficult, it often results in far more money fears than necessary.

A joint approach also allows you to dream together. We all have our own money profiles. Letting one profile take over the relationship is limiting. Regular money conversations allow you to be creative with what is possible, while also being realistic about what isn't.

You are ultimately either going to spend money or give it away. We attach multiple feelings to money — scarcity, success, embarrassment. Each person in a couple has their own money story, making it important for the ones going forward to be shared.

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