Regardless of whether you and your partner plan to combine your finances or keep them separate, here are some suggested key conversations to have in order to start on the right path towards financial success:

1.) Financial Values

The first thing to remember is that value does not mean price. For example, $2,000.00 can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and it is important to discuss financial value and priorities when it comes to you and your partner. Maybe you are more of a planner and risk-taker who works hard toward maximizing every dollar. Using that $2,000.00 for a new stock investment seems like a perfectly reasonable purchase, right? On the contrary, your partner believes money enhances experiences and relationships and is more risk-averse. For them, $2,000.00 on a nice vacation is the guarantee of quality time and fun. If we only view our partner’s financial decisions through our perspective, their reasoning will be hard to understand. It is important to discuss these views openly and come to terms with joint values and priorities.

2.) Financial Goals: Individual vs. Joint

When striving to accomplish anything, having a goal is step one. Goal setting is important individually and is just as essential as a team to ensure you are moving in the same direction.  Individual goals should be shared to create financial short- and long-term goals. Lastly, write them down!  Can you think of any successful businesses or organizations that do not have specific, documented goals?

3.) What is the Plan for Debt?

Discussing current debts, and being on the same page regarding future debts is one of the most important conversations to have with your partner. Too often, we refrain from these conversations due to embarrassment, potential arguments, or negligence. Open conversations of individual debt and expected future debts are vital to relationships being financially stable. You and your partner should be aware of each other’s individual debts before obtaining joint debt, in order to avoid overextending yourselves. 

4.) What is the plan for building wealth?

Now that you know what each of you value in regards to money, have established goals, and have discussed how to pay down existing debt, what’s next? We can safely assume that building wealth is a likely long-term financial goal for most couples. At some point, a goal of retirement or financial independence is expected, with the reward being more control over your free time and spending. Most people believe the best way to accomplish this is plan, save, and invest. But, how much money do we dedicate to investing? To saving? When do we start? Truth be told, there are plentiful options and it’s important to know what works for you both, jointly. You and your partner want to be on the same page in terms of the end game, the need, and the time it will take. 

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