Let’s Talk Money

Dollars and cents can make for interesting pillow talk and may save your marriage

account. Tia worried that they wouldn’t have access to the cash they needed in case of an emergency, and she also feared getting into debt.

“She was always independent and felt like she was being torn apart from her security,” Wayne recalls. When Tia became pregnant with their first child, Jayce, who is now 2 years old, she wanted Wayne to get a job. The key to working through their impasse was communication.

“It’s very common for financial opposites to hook up,” Khalfani-Cox says. “One person is a spender and total impulse buyer, and one person is a saver, planner, and budgeter. It

really doesn’t have to be the death knell to a love match.”

After many discussions, Wayne convinced Tia that investing could lead to greater financial freedom. Wayne also allowed Tia to hold him accountable financially, giving her a greater degree of trust that their family was financially secure. “We are really open and honest with each other,” Tia says. When Tia and Wayne first married he saved only 5% of his income, but now saves 15% while re-investing the rest back into the business.

To make sure such discussions happen, Khalfani-Cox suggests couples set a financial “date night” at least once a month. “The idea is to talk through issues,” she advises. “Talk about your dreams, planning your next vacation, or other upcoming plans for spending money. Check in with your partner and reconnect.”

3. Agree on a plan-Who’ll make sure the bills get paid? How will you set up your acco

Both the Stoddards and the McCollors manage their money using a joint account for household expenses, but they have separate accounts from which they make small purchases. One spouse then takes the lead in the day-to-day oversight.

Asia, who has an eye for detail, makes sure the household bills get paid. Still, she and her husband, Joe, now regularly discuss how to spend their money. Before buying school clothes for the kids, she’ll call Joe to check if they are on the same page.

Wayne McCollors has put his household’s finances in accounting software that makes tracking them easy. He also pays the bills, but Tia is involved in the decision-making.

“Someone is going to end up being treasurer, that’s how marriage works, but once every two weeks talk about how the bills are going,” advises Michelle Singletary, a Washington Post financial columnist and author of Your Money and Your Man: How You and Prince Charming Can Spend Well and Live Rich (Random House; $14.95). To further foster financial unity, Singletary suggests ?couples do away with his and hers bank accounts and keep the money in one pot. Singletary and her husband have an agreed upon ?allowance, and once or twice a month they dip into the joint ?account to pull out that money. The rest is spent, saved, and ?invested jointly. “You have to plan together. You have to save ?together,” Singletary says. “When you have everything in one pot, there’s no issue about who earns what. If one spouse gets a raise,

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