Protecting yourself financially in your relationship

Many of us are hopeless romantics. We want to find that one person we can trust completely in every aspect of our lives together. It is a wonderful thing to have that kind of positivity, but it is also important to protect ourselves. The world is an unpredictable place, and there is no telling what can happen in a relationship years down the road. For that reason, we help you identify some ways in which you can protect yourself financially and still enjoy a happy, healthy relationship.

Couple discussing budget

Talk it out

The most important element when it comes to finances in a relationship is communication. The second that honesty is lost, problems can start to arise. So make sure every decision you make is talked through thoroughly, and keep the lines of communication open.

Think carefully about having a joint account

Having a joint account seems like a logical step when you have entered into marriage or a serious, long-term relationship with someone. You are merging your dreams, your homes, your belongings, your lives — so why not merge your bank accounts as well? Well, as unfortunate as it is to admit, money can complicate things — even in the best relationships. A joint account means you both put your incomes in one place and take from there for all necessary goods and services. As lovely as this is in theory, it can quickly go sour. For instance, you may find your partner is taking more from it than you are for personal reasons, or vice versa. This can quickly escalate into resentment and arguments.

If you do join accounts, do so carefully

If you decide having a joint account is important to both of you, then you both have to be smart about it. Come to an agreement about what purchases are allowed to be made freely and which ones require consultation with each other. You should both check the account daily and be open to discussion if either of you feels what is going on in the account is inappropriate. Communication about money needs to be constant, because if either of you starts to feel as though the other is letting things slide, resentment can brew.

Both be in charge of the bills

Rather than having only one of you take care of the bills, you should both be checking on a regular basis what is being paid off. If you leave it to him and he forgets or is unable to pay, this may cause you to develop trust issues that could worsen with time. The same goes if you set out to take care of everything and wind up in trouble. When bills come in, lay them out so you both can see them, then you should both check that they have been paid off before the month is out. Ultimately, aim to act independently, together.

Know what you are getting into

Before making any financial decision, make sure you are both entirely aware of what it entails. Talk to your financial expert, each other and even your family and friends. Life experience is a powerful thing, so ask around, gather as much information as you can, then make the decision together.

Consider all outcomes

It is a wonderful thing to be in love and to trust another person unconditionally, and it’s natural to not want to let go of that. But in terms of finances, it is also important to look at every possible future and plan accordingly. By taking steps to protect yourself now, you may save yourself a great amount of heartache down the line. And even if everything does go perfectly in your relationship, it is still always wise to be your own person and be knowledgeable about your own affairs.

more on relationships

New couples: 6 Tips for joining your finances
Learn how to compromise in a relationship
Learning not to sweat the small stuff

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