Five Financial Topics Every Couple Should Discuss

June 29, 2016

You’ve found your romantic match, but are you financially compatible?

Talking about money can be hard—but it’s one of the most important conversations a couple should have. Discovering how your partner views and spends money, and understanding his or her goals and dreams, are crucial to building a shared future.

Here are some financial topics you should discuss with your partner—ideally, before you get married or live together.

  1. Your financial personalities. Understanding each other’s beliefs and values about money can go a long way toward improving communication about money. And when you talk candidly about money, you’re better able to build a solid financial foundation and determine a money strategy that works.
  2. Your net worth. You should both be transparent about your assets—and your liabilities—so you clearly understand your joint financial situation. If you have debt, your MD Advisor can help you develop a plan to consolidate it and pay it down faster.
  3. Your monthly cash flow. As a couple, how much money do you bring home every month, and what are your regular expenses (bills, rent, debt repayment, etc.)? Knowing these details will help you budget and plan for your future together.
  4. Your financial arrangements. Talk about how your finances are currently organized. As a couple, will you maintain separate accounts? Create a joint account for bill payments? Consolidation may help you save on service fees.
  5. Your goals. As a couple, you’ll have short-term goals (e.g., saving for a down payment or a vacation) and long-term ones (e.g., retirement). Are you on the same page? Sit down together and define your shared financial goals to ensure you’re both working toward them.  

Should you consider a prenuptial agreement?  

For some couples, a prenuptial agreement (or cohabitation agreement) might make sense. For example, couples who are getting married later in life and have amassed some wealth, or those who already have children, may want to ensure clarity about who gets what in the event of a relationship breakup. Family law varies by province, so it’s important to do your research and get legal help.

Plan for the unexpected

Don’t forget about insurance. Integrating lifestyle protection and tax-efficient estate planning insurance strategies into your overall financial plan is a powerful way to build and protect your future together as a couple.

Estate planning

As a couple, no matter what stage of life you’re in, you’ll need to create an estate plan. This could involve drafting a will, making decisions about power of attorney and beneficiaries, establishing trusts, and arranging for the tax-effective administration of your estate. Taking these important steps will provide you both with the confidence that your affairs are in order. Your MD Advisor can make sure your estate plan is incorporated into your overall financial plan. 

Start the conversation

Whether you get married or live together, committing to a long-term relationship changes your financial situation. The sooner you have honest conversations about money with your partner, the better. Once you have a shared vision for your financial future, your MD Advisor can help you make your financial plan a reality.

For more information about financial planning, contact an MD Advisor. MD offers objective advice at every stage of your career—from medical school through retirement. Find an MD Advisor near you.

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