Honesty is always the best policy.
If you’re taking it to the next level, now is the time to air out all the dirty financial laundry. “Get to know your partner and their finances while dating, says Michael Solari, principal of Solari Financial Planning, LLC. “It is stressful digging yourself out of debt, and it's important for your partner to know so they can understand. When you're in it together, it's a lot easier to get out of.
Don’t be afraid to reveal your income or equity.
“Income is one of the subjects we’ve been taught to never, ever, bring up – but it touches almost every aspect of a relationship, says LexION Capital CEO and founder Elle Kaplan. “Where you both can live, how much you can save, and even your quality of life is affected by your joint income. You should figure out if your joint income will be enough to support your relationship goals, or if it makes sense to prolong some of them.”
Set goals together — and stick to them.
“Create a budget,” advises Simon Financial Group’s Saul Simon. “Figure out where you stand: how much you earn, how much you owe, and how much you regularly spend. Then create your budget and stick to it.”
Revisit goals regularly.
“Agree to have consistent ‘money summits,’” says Ignite Financial founder Stephen Alred Jr. “Money summits should happen semi-annually or annually. They are when you go through your entire financial plan and look at progress toward your goals. These summits help you stay on track and provide focused motivation for the upcoming year.”
Keep each other accountable.
“Assign responsibilities, but keep each other informed, says Melinda Kibler, EA, certified financial planner and portfolio manager with Palisades Hudson Financial Group. “Determine who will be responsible for paying the bills and who will track your budget. If you are filing a joint tax return for the first year, be sure someone takes responsibility for organizing all your documents and getting them to the tax preparer on time.”