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Anyone that has ever been in a serious relationship will likely admit that aside from intimacy and sex, money is probably the most sensitive issue. Many people have problems talking to their partner or spouse about finances and it is one of the main causes of arguments and conflict in a relationship.
Each of us grows up with our own individual set of values about money, and as a result, develop our own habits about budgeting and financial planning. When two people start approach their finances as a team, their sets of values and habits can be quite different and it can take time to figure out a system that works for the both of you. Whether you keep separate bank accounts, split expenses equally or divide responsibilities, keeping the lines of communication open can make conflicts and disagreements easier to approach. Being open and honest with each other about your financial habits, needs and values is important. Each of you may have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money management and like other aspects of a relationship, being a team can help each of you overcome shortcomings and help one another make better choices.
Learning how to communicate with your partner about money early on can also help you deal with financial difficulties down the road. An unexpected job loss, illness or other major life event can put a huge strain on you as a couple. By starting the money conversation early on, and learning how to plan and manage your finances as a couple, it can help avoid a breakdown in communication and more importantly, your relationship if things do get tough financially.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) offers some great information about money conversations every couple should have, making a household budget and arranging finances as a couple.
There are also legal and tax implications that comes to managing finances as a couple you may also want to consider. The FCAC has information on tax tips for couples and prenuptial and cohabitation agreements that are worth exploring.
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