Your Honey and Your Money: Let’s Talk!

With Valentine’s Day just over, it’s a great time to sit down with our better half, and talk about finance together. I’m speaking about Couple’s Finance, to be exact.

It can be an important conversation to have, whether it is about family goals to be met, or just finding common ground regarding the level of daily expenses.

I took some cues from my colleagues at the Fool US this time around and summarised a trio of steps which a loving couple may follow along.

So, remove all sharp objects before you begin (just kidding!) and let’s start talking.

Step 1: Set a date

The first step may seem straight forward but it’s a whole lot better than a loose commitment to just “talk about it sometime in the future”.

If you have been putting it off, well, commit to a date together. Or better still – go on a date and talk about your shared finances. A weekend vacation or even going out for dinner may help keep the discussion civil. If you have kids, allocating time away from the kids to have a talk can be helpful as well.

Step 2: Set an agenda

Here’re a few suggestions to get you started. This comes from my Foolish colleague, Dayana Yochim, and is meant to be answered individually:

  1. What’s my biggest daily financial concern?
  2. What are the most important midterm (next one to five years) money concerns we face as a family?
  3. What worries (or excites) me most about our long-term (six to 10 years) financial well-being?

Comparing your answers with your loved one to find common ground can get the discussion going on what the both of you want to achieve for the future.

Beyond watching your expenses, investing could be one way to help you to your long term goals. The long term annualised returns of the SPDR STI ETF (SGX: ES3) – a proxy for the market barometer the Strait Times Index (SGX: ^STI) – stands at 8.45% currently. With a long enough timeframe to stay invested in the stock market, we may increase our chances to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Advice: Don’t aim for perfection

This is not a rocket launch. This is also not a discussion which you will have for only one time with your loved one and be done until you retire together. Focus on incremental wins. Your priorities may also change over time, so be flexible about tweaking your plans as you go along. The best thing to do may to keep discussing your shared goals as you move through life together.

That’s it for now. If you are interested to learn more, or if you would like to read the full list of steps, go here. It’s awesome.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chin Hui Leong doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.