Cindy and Jeff see eye to eye on most things - music, TV programs and food. But, when it comes to spending and investing, they couldn't be more different. The result? They end up making the same money mistakes over and over. If you're like Cindy and Jeff, it's time for some ground rules to help turn things around.
Create a Budget
Keep track of where your money goes by creating a budget. Make a list of your monthly living expenses and subtract the total from your monthly net pay. What’s left is your discretionary income. With a budget in place, you can spend wisely, control debt and plan for major purchases and emergencies.
Discuss money and financial goals
Set aside time regularly to discuss your finances. Talk about you and your partner's money strengths and weaknesses and your long- and short-term financial goals. Try to find common ground on spending and saving. For example, agree ahead of time on how much you plan to spend on a major purchase.
Decide how to handle your day-to-day finances. You can divide up the responsibility or put one person in charge of your finances. But be sure to review household finances together at least once a month so that you both know what's going on.
Talk about "what ifs"
What would happen financially if one of you were to become disabled or die unexpectedly? If you don't know, then you need to talk about having a will drafted and buying - or adding - disability income insurance and life insurance. Make sure your beneficiary designations on retirement and other accounts and life insurance policies are up to date.
Money mistakes can be expensive and could impact your future financial security. Take the time now to work together to make sure that you avoid future financial mistakes.