I'm just a local business and finance nerd looking to help people get educated about small business, marketing, and personal finance! I write about anything and everything that I can tie into those themes. I'm also Central Florida's only Kilted Realtor, so I write about Real Estate too! Check out my About Me page to see the origins of Cash Flow Celt.
Conquering Your Financial Empire
Everybody knows the facts. 40% of all first marriages end in divorce. Interestingly enough, there is a lot of evidence to support the idea that those statistics were created rather than found. However, communication is still one of the largest downfalls to any relationship. Money tends to be pretty high on that list of incommunicado. Personally, I support open dialogue of how many dollar bills I have with the Lady Celt. I also love talking about money in general – much to her chagrin.
So how do couples in a relationship broach the topic of money? Knowing it can be very difficult for many people, I’d like to step in and offer support. Today, I’d like to talk about how Lady Celt and I mince through the finance topic. It’s not always easy, but it’s (mostly) worth it.
Lady Celt and I talk about money usually about once a week – a quick recap. We also tend to talk about once a month (usually near when I do the monthly financial checkup) about what happened and where we might need to cut back. Sometimes once a quarter, but always at least twice a year, we talk about what money means to us. By that I mean what it buys us: vacations, standard of living, dream conquering.
In our relationship, probably unsurprisingly, I handle the money. I pay the bills, I run the retirement accounts, I pick the credit cards, etc. It’s not that she couldn’t. It’s that I prefer to do it and she, well, doesn’t. I guess you could say that she’s a lady in the street and I’m a freak in the balance sheets. This is the thing though, I’m very open with my decisions and spreadsheets. Every business partnership agreement contains a clause that allows any partner at any time to view the accounts and financials. All I’ve done is apply that to our personal relationship. If she says “why?” I tell her why. If she says “what” I show her my spreadsheets. For the most part, she trusts that I’m doing the correct thing. The only time she questions me is when she thinks we had more or less in the accounts.
Your relationship may require a split work load. One of you may work the books, while the other pays the bills. That’s fine. Talk about each other’s preferences, and the rest of it should fall into place.
The previous section probably made you think we have a mutual account. And we do – we have one. That joint account is only to transfer money between her and I and generally never has more than about $500 in it. I have my own personal IRA and checking account and she has her own checking account. I know how much is in hers and she mine; however, her money is HER money. My money is also her money – or so it seems. I dunno, some things aren’t worth fighting over.
That said, we split expenses. Not 50/50 though. That wouldn’t be fair at all as I make drastically more (about 75% of our total income). So, she pays me “rent” each month that totals 25% of our expenses. Our expenses stay pretty flat though with very little monthly variation. When our expenses exceed what they usually do, it’s usually my fault due to advertising costs of my business. I eat that and don’t pass it on to her. Consequently, she just pays me a flat fee that doesn’t change from month to month.
I believe it’s important to have separation. A lot of my belief behind this is protective in nature. Lady Celt is not, necessarily, reliant on me. Financially, she’s obviously better off as I make more; however, she’s not bound to me. That means, for whatever reason that is, she sticks around on her own accord. It also provides her own discretionary income. I do coach her on how to manage her budget, but it’s her decision when she ignores me. If she wants to spend $80 at Target on wicker storage baskets and random home goods that I would never consent to using, so be it. You do you girl.
One final note, when you get serious with your boy/girl, you need to have a money talk. Talk about your debts and assets that you both own. It’s important. You can’t hide something like delinquent credit card debt, a home foreclosure, how much you pay in child support from your significant other. It’s not fair, for one. It also creates a whole host of other problems that arise in bad situations; like when you and beau are trying to obtain credit as a couple.
Money and love isn’t a one size fits all. If my solutions work for you, that’s fantastic! If not, it’s more important that you and your significant other started talking dollars and cents. Understanding how you both view money is an important tool in warding off unnecessary fights. I’ve always been open about money. Even in the bad times. Actually, more in the bad times. The less money Lady Celt and I had the more conversations about money we had. Ten years in, our relationship is certainly better for it.
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