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Money & marriage: 6 conversations to have with your partner

Maintaining a healthy, happy marriage often requires consistent communication — and money matters are no exception. Check in often about these topics to ensure you’re working together toward a strong financial future. 

Consider some support

Before diving into heavy money talks, assess how these conversations with your partner usually go. A financial advisor like those available through Ally Invest Personal Advice can be helpful for married couples, especially if you and your spouse have struggled in the past to have productive chats about money. Talking about finances is harder for some people than others, but this doesn’t mean you’re incompatible or that you should give up. An impartial third party can help you sort through your situation and establish goals that work for your marriage. 

1. Talk budgets

As a married couple, consider implementing a budget and using tools like spending buckets in an Ally Bank Spending Account to visualize your habits and stay on the same page. Scheduling regular meetings to review your budget is a good strategy — and can be especially important when your financial situation changes. 

Adjusting your budget in these circumstances will help you and your spouse  decide how to adapt your individual habits. For example, if you land a higher-paying job, you may be able to spend a little more on their trips to the grocery store each week. Or, if you’re a parent, figure out how to sneak some self-care into the budget. By agreeing on and communicating about your spending limits, you can minimize any stressful financial surprises. 

A financially healthy marriage can be an important basis for facing life’s challenges together.

2. Assess your assets - together 

It can be important to determine what’s yours, mine and ours. You likely discussed assets like property , investments and savings with your spouse ahead of your wedding. If not, don’t sweat. It’s never too late to start. Keep in mind that even when you’re married, you may decide to manage your individual assets and finances separately, which works for many couples.

Receiving a personal windfall like an inheritance can mean you’ll need to reevaluate your assets to help you decide how to use it together as a couple. For example, you may want to switch up your investment strategy to save for retirement together. 

3. Keep discussing debts

Talking about debt is hard, but it’s important for your spouse to know about changes to your credit card debt, student loans or personal loans. These discussions will help you stay up-to-date on your action plan to pay it down

Becoming debt-free is a crucial step in working toward financial freedom and building wealth as a couple. Two heads are better than one, and together you can find a debt management strategy that will help you accomplish your shared financial goals as a couple. 

4. Chat about credit scores

A strong credit score can open a lot of doors — from helping you qualify for a mortgage to refinancing student loans or buying a car . Getting married doesn’t affect your individual credit score, so your credit history will remain separate from your spouse’s. Swap scores with your beloved, and from there, you can formulate a plan to improve your scores as needed to get ahead of any surprises when the time comes.

5. Plan for the (near) future

Setting shared goals will help you and your spouse work together to accomplish them. Whether you have plans to save up for a vacation or prepare your finances for having a child , savings tools like buckets and boosters in an Ally Bank Savings Account can help you get there. Focusing on these goals together can not only help you achieve them faster, but also create a mutual sense of accomplishment for your hard work.

Tip: If you and your spouse share a competitive streak, try creating a savings challenge .

6. Prepare for your golden years

Another important financial benchmark to set with your spouse is your retirement age, whether you’re just starting your savings or you’re working toward early retirement . You don’t necessarily need to aim for retirement at the same time, but knowing what your plans are as a couple will help you each fund your retirement accounts accordingly. Consider discussing how your portfolios are managed, either through DIY or robo investing , and the life you’d like to share in retirement, like spending big on travel or leading a frugal life at home.

Financial happily ever after

A financially healthy marriage can be an important basis for facing life’s challenges together. With some mutual trust, honest communication and teamwork, you and your spouse can prepare for what’s ahead and accomplish your financial goals together.

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