There are a few clear answers to this question:
- 1. You
2. Your spouse/partner
3. No one
Do you manage the money?
Do you differentiate between who actually manages/pays the bills and who monitors the expenses? If you manage the money in your household, you presumably know how much your bills are, how to pay them, how much you save, and how much you spend. Whether you realize it or not, you have great power in your household I am NOT the manager of the money in our household, and I’m not great at this. If you do hold the power, ensure that your spouse or partner knows where to get all of the information on how much your bills are and how to pay them. As in everything, communication is key whether your spouse/partner wants to be involved in the actual money management or not.
Consider separating duties
Just to be clear, there is a very big difference between the money manager (bill payer, investment picker, account overseer) and the spending tracker (budget planner, expense tracker, meal planner). The money manager is responsible for the holistic, long-term view of the finances while the spending tracker is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of what is being spent and how. Together the roles work beautifully. Without one or the other, the whole ship falls apart. My eyes kind of glaze over when Kirby tries to include me in the nitty gritty of managing our finances. I’m a machine at not spending money – ensuring we cut everywhere that we can – and I’m great at focusing on the long-term goals we share. I do not, however, know where to mail the checks that keep the water running and the lights on. I don’t feel like I really NEED to know, but if Kirby got stuck on a business trip overseas, and I was forced to pay bills, I would be in real trouble – and that’s not okay. It’s one area we can improve on, so we’re working on ways to improve the lines of communication in case something were to happen.
Does your spouse manage everything?
KJ: If your spouse takes care of everything, how do you know it is actually being taken care of? I know, it’s a bit cynical, but finances are one of the main stressors in most of our lives, and if we simply leave it all to another person to handle, why would you expect that everything will be smooth sailing? We all make mistakes, and the world of finance is so large that there are so many professional disciplines dedicated to navigating the world, so why should one spouse be solely responsible for this? Talk about pressure. No wonder it’s a significant stress on couples.
Think about the last time you had a goal in mind: taking your significant other on a nice vacation, purchasing a new piece of furniture, or achieving top salesperson in your firm. Were you able to simply accomplish this all on your own with no outside help? Chances are that the answer to this question is a resounding “no!” We all need help in some form or fashion no matter our expertise or preparation, so lean on those around you to help you accomplish your goals (i.e. your significant other). Especially when it comes to planning your future with your significant other, neither one of you is perfect, so rely on each other to help make it a joint effort. Maybe one of you is better with numbers and the other is better with organization or planning. See what you can do to work on it together, so you can both be on the same page to know where you stand and where you are headed.
Does anyone manage the money?
AJ: If no one is managing your money, this is where you should panic. How do you know how much you make, how much you spend, how much your cost of living is? Button it up and read our earlier posts. Start with creating a budget, planning your expenses thoughtfully, and being mindful of what comes in and goes out. Otherwise, how can you be sure you are heading in the right direction long-term? How do you know if you will ever be able to accomplish your goals without spiraling into debt? It’s not something that you need to LOVE to do, it’s something that you need to KNOW how to do, so you can properly plan for your future. If neither of you like doing this, then maybe you can start a new tradition by reviewing this weekly before you grab some pizza, beer, and a movie.
- Who manages the money in your household?
How do you keep up with unexpected (or expected) expenses that come up?
Tell us about what works for you.
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