How to control your finances and keep money from messing up your marriage

So What's A Couple To Do?

Kitty Bressington is a financial adviser in Rochester, N.Y., who specializes in helping couples. First, she says, you need to "get all of the issues out on the table, work through a budget." That means coming to some agreement on "yours, mine, ours." Couples often need to set spending limits.

"Those all come from being able to talk about money, which as a society we're not very good at," Bressington says.

Keeping all your money separate is probably the wrong approach, Bressington says, but she also doesn't think it's a good idea for a couple to just throw all their money together in one account and hope for the best.

The exact structure depends on the particular couple. But she recommends the following as a good way to organize your finances:
  1. Set up a joint account to cover the basic bills.
  2. Set up a plan with automatic contributions to a retirement account, college savings account and other long-term savings goals.
  3. Then, each partner in the couple should get a set amount of spending or "fun" money every month that's discretionary.
"If you decide [the fun money is], say, $250 a month, and that fits within your budget, and one person wants to blow his $250 and the other person wants to save her $250, then that's OK because you've set those ground rules," Bressington says.

She advises many couples to take out that spending money in cash — no credit cards.

Also, many experts say if you go to a financial adviser, pick one who works for a simple "fee only" (an actual, legally binding designation) — unlike many who make commissions steering you into pricey mutual funds.

You can listen to an audio and read the full post and comments at The NPR where there were already more than 850 by the time I was publishing this post. Below is #1 (when sorted by "Best" comments) with the highest up-vote.


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