Managing Your Money Together as a Millennial Couple

Love is grand. Love and money — eh, that’s a little less grand. Hell, most of the time it’s super complicated.

Talking about your finances with your partner — whether you’re quibbling over who paid for dinner last or deciding to make a big purchase — can be super stressful. And things get even more complicated when you start living together. When, how, and why you choose to combine your money is a tough decision, and every couple handles it differently.

While your friends and family will offer you plenty of dating advice, we tend to be less forthcoming with information about money management. And it’s not so simple as just copying our parents. We’re coming of age in a very different time: We’re the first group in the modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than our parents and grandparents had at the same stage of their lives. But it’s not all bad news. With more women working than ever before, 80% of millennials report being part of a dual-income couple. And we’ve found new ways to cobble together a living wage, with 38% of people under 35 relying on freelance work to contribute to their income.

So if you’re not using your parents model for managing money, and you probably shouldn’t demand to see your friends’ bank statements or 401(k) contributions, where do you go for real info? Well, we did the legwork for you, rounding up four young couples* — all somewhere between marriage and kids — who were willing to share the details of how they make their money work, individually, and as a unit. To help make the conversation as educational as possible, we asked Priya Malani, a financial planner and founder of Stash Wealth, to provide advice for each pair that’s also widely applicable.

Peter & Kelly

Peter, 30, works as an editor for a major sports website, and he does some freelance sports writing for other high profile sites. Kelly, 29, is a full-time bath designer, who also does some kitchen and bedroom design on the side. She has aspirations of starting her own company one day. Kelly and Peter recently married and own a condo in Jersey City, NJ. Together, they make about $80,000 annually.

The couple moved in together after a year of dating, immediately opened a joint checking account, and got a shared credit card. From the beginning, they have contributed the majority of their paychecks to the joint account — putting about 60% of their individual incomes into the joint account and keeping 40% separate.

Peter is the nervous one about their finances, admitting money was tight when they first started dating. “I was probably over-anxious, he says. “But we didn’t spend outside our means in the early days, and we both made a conscious effort to not fight over finances.”

Living within their means worked well for them, and they’ve managed to put down financial roots, even in New York’s insane real estate market. In February 2014, Peter and Kelly bought a condo in Jersey City. It’s a long-term investment they hope to rent one day, to help offset the cost of a home large enough to accommodate a growing family.

Peter and Kelly don’t have too many immediate money concerns. “The only thing that would worry me is if one of us died, because we don’t have life insurance,” Kelly says. “Otherwise, we have health insurance, we have savings, and we’re okay.”

As their careers have evolved, so have their money management skills. Although a majority of their income still goes to the shared account, they’ve also opened individual credit cards. This allows Kelly to cover business expenses like design materials, without bogging down their joint credit limit. They’ve also been able to grow their side gigs: Peter’s freelance writing and Kelly’s interior design work. In the future, they’d like to be able to focus even more on these professional pursuits, but both are concerned about financial security.

“At the end of the day, we want to do what is best for ourselves — as that will lead us to what is best for our family,” Peter says. “Kelly has thought about trying to build her own business, but the stress of an uncertain financial future, particularly when we are preparing for a bigger space and kids, is enough to keep us doing what we are doing.”

Financial Feedback:

Priya Malani was super impressed that Peter and Kelly are able to live within their means in such an expensive city. But, she urged them to open a Roth IRA as soon as possible.

“Saving for retirement when you’re young is much easier than when you’re older — each dollar counts a lot more,” she says.

Regarding Kelly’s concern about not having life insurance, Malani recommends looking into a term policy versus a whole life policy.

“As long as you keep up with your savings goals, you will do much better in the long run not to invest in a whole life policy,” Malani says.

For more information of the difference between term and whole life insurance, check out this story on Stash Wealth.

Inheritance? Who Is and Isn’t Talking About It With Their Partner.

A survey also found that more than half admitted to not openly discussing their finances with their loved ones.

Nearly one in two people keep an inheritance secret from their partner, according to a new survey.

The poll quizzed 1,000 couples from around the UK about whether they were ‘completely honest’ with each other about their savings and debts .

The survey found that 57 per cent of those polled admitted not openly discussing their finances with their loved one.

Amazingly, the survey, for pensions advice specialist Portafina, also found that just over 40 per cent – almost one in two – admitted not telling their partner about a windfall from an inheritance.

A total of 43 per cent of those quizzed also failed to tell their loved one about all the debts they owed.

One in 10 even said they had ‘intentionally gone out of their way’ to hide their assets or debts from their loved one.

More than half of those polled said they don’t openly discuss finances with their partner

The poll found that 92 per cent of those quizzed admitted not ‘taking steps’ to protect themselves financially – such as opening a separate savings account – just in case their relationship hit the rocks.

The main reasons given for financial secrecy were that they had lost out financially after a break-up with a former partner, and also ‘feeling uncomfortable’ discussing cash, especially if one partner earned considerably more than the other.

Top of the secretive list were people from Birmingham, with just under 55 per cent confessing to keeping their financial affairs ‘top secret’.

This was closely followed by Liverpudlians, with 51 per cent, and people from Leeds and Glasgow came in joint 3rd place, with 50 per cent saying they didn’t share financial information with partners.

Couples in the Republic of Ireland were the most honest about their finances, with only 40 per cent keeping their finances secret.

secretive couples

The poll also found that 35 per cent didn’t like discussing pensions with their partner – and 30 per cent said they even kept a health problem secret from their loved one.

Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina, said: “It’s not unusual for friends or colleagues to talk about money when things get tight before payday, but we wanted to know just how far these conversations go and how much we share.

“We were surprised to find that over half of those in relationships don’t discuss details such as salary, debts and savings with their partner, with debts being at the bottom of the sharing list.

“While some people see this as a way of protecting themselves in the future, the benefits of sharing important financial details and knowing about potential pressure points – such as debts or changes to retirement planning – should not be underestimated.

“More openness and communication in relationships can really help people create the future lifestyle they want.”

Curated by Timothy
Original Article

What is Mine is Yours. Right?

Before the first date, with nearly half (48 percent) of millennials surveyed who have used an online dating service discussing their finances before meeting.

TD Bank’s survey shows Millennials talk early and often about money and are happier in their relationships

Couples who talk about money at least once a week say they are happier (78 percent), than those who discuss money less than every few months (50 percent), according to the second annual TD Bank Love & Money Survey.

Money is a hot relationship topic for millennials with 74 percent discussing it weekly (and an additional 19 percent discussing it at least once a month). In fact, these discussions begin even before the first date, with nearly half (48 percent) of millennials surveyed who have used an online dating service discussing their finances before meeting, compared with 36 percent across all generations.

Talking about money can be uncomfortable,” says Ryan Bailey, Head of Consumer Deposits, Payments and Personal Lending at TD Bank. “Establishing a healthy dialogue about finances can help couples get on the same page from the start and result in happier relationships in the long run.”

What’s Mine is Yours? Not So Fast, Say Millennials

  • While more than two-thirds (68 percent) of millennials have at least one shared bank account, they are somewhat averse to sharing credit card accounts, with 60 percent stating they keep some separate or don’t share any at all (compared with 55 percent of Gen Xers and 48 percent of boomers).
  • Across all generations, 76 percent of couples share at least one bank account, including 79 percent of those who said they are happy in their relationships. Moreover, 63 percent of all couples shared at least one credit card, including 68 percent of those who are happy.
  • Credit card debt is a significant factor when it comes to relationships and 44 percent say they are less likely to date someone with credit card debt.

Financial Health and Real Resolutions to Make Your Relationship Fit

You make new year’s resolutions every year for yourself. But now that you’re in a twosome, it’s time to tackle this year’s to-do together.

“Making resolutions as a couple bonds you,” explains relationship expert April Masini. And, bonus, making relationship resolutions with a partner holds you accountable to them, says Rachel Needle, Psy.D, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist.

But where to begin? Here are six new year’s relationship resolutions our experts say you should take on together.

1. Schedule a set time to connect each day.

Life sometimes gets in the way of connecting with our partners. This year, promise to set aside a specific time each day that you and your significant other will spend quality time together, suggests Needle. “Many couples touch base throughout the day but spend that time only reviewing the mundane details,” she says. With your resolution, decide the time you set aside is time you’ll really connect. “You can catch up on the day,” she says, “but also discuss feelings about the day or try asking your partner questions that help you to continue to get to know them more intimately.”

2. Get financially fit.

Make this the year you hit your financial goals. “Whether it’s a financial bucket list, a debt reduction plan, a vacation savings plan, or deciding what to do with a gift, financial goal-setting as a couple is a wonderful way to start off the new year,” says Masini. “It lets you feel you’re taking charge of your money, together. That’s not just a good feeling, it’s a relief of stress over financial issues that you’ve not dealt with.”

3. Plan more time to be sexual together.

Sex is a key component of a healthy relationship. So if your sex life could use a boost, set a resolution to no longer put sex on the back burner. “Make a commitment to prioritize being sexual together and plan it,” says Needle. “Having one of your new year’s resolutions devoted to this shows that you understand the importance of continued physical intimacy in your relationship and makes it more likely it will happen.” Needle also suggests planning new things to try this year in bed — or out.