Part 4 – Come to an Agreement
We’ve covered a lot about couples finances in the past few posts (You can check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). All of it is necessary when you are a new (or old) couple if you are wanting to be financially successful. This last part is probably the most important. It’s the reason why we were able build our wealth, save up for a home, and most importantly never fight about money. That’s right, my wife and I do not fight about money. Since we put all of this in place we don’t argue about our finances.
Come to an Agreement
I believe that every couple should have some sort of agreement, usually it’s not a formal written out agreement. But it can be, if you feel it is necessary.
For us, when we came up with our simple money management system we decided that it needed to be in writing. Not because we wanted it to be binding (though it’s an option if you feel it’s necessary). But because we are visual people.
We had our system of where the money came into and where it flowed out and on what dates. In the beginning it looked like that wall from the movie “A Beautiful Mind” where he has strings going to and from pictures, now it’s a lot simpler.
Just a reminder: It’s not a legal contract or something to trick the other person into. It’s an agreement. Something that you both come to agree on and when something comes up you can use a reference.
With our combined system, we have given dollar amounts to certain accounts that we use every month and others we let build over time. That way if something comes up we have the money for it.
For instance: We have a health and wellness account. Every month we take a preset amount ($100) from our main account and put it into this “Health and Wellness” account. This account is for things related to improving ourselves. Whether it’s physically, mentally or emotionally.
So if one of us wants something, they can check the balance in that account and ask if some of the money can be used towards that aspect (our health) of our lives for a purchase (running shoes). This is the benefit to agreeing on a system. It’s important that you start giving your money a purpose. Just like people if you don’t have a purpose for your money it won’t do very much for you.
Why an Agreement is an Amazing thing
In the beginning the idea of an agreement is kind of weird. But I have taught our money management system to hundreds of people and they all say it’s the best thing that they could have done for themselves. This agreement puts you both in charge of your money. It makes you think about your finances and then puts it on autopilot.
Why an Agreement works
It removes the pressure of one person being the dominating money personality. The agreement is the boss, not a person. If there is no money in the health and wellness account, well then that’s the end of it.
There’s no guesswork, or blaming. The money isn’t there. End of conversation. Wait a month and there will be more money in it and then you can decide if what you wanted today was worth the wait.
I hear so often people say “He’ll never let me buy that” or “She’s never going to let me have this” with a good system it’s all covered. This is probably the biggest game changer for us as a couple. The agreement we agreed on took the pressure off one of us being the “Bad Guy”. Or the chief money decision maker.
Remember: As time goes on, just know that the arrangement will most likely change and evolve. Just like any relationship.
Who’s the boss? the agreement is the boss
Eventually there are going to be some disagreements or maybe even arguments.
Somewhere along the lines someone will want something larger. Want to use the money in the pooled account for something else, or use it for a huge purchase. Like a new car, or a trip or anything else that you didn’t initially cover when you came up with the agreement.
That is the time where you can make a note of it and come back to revising the agreement. Don’t let this be a one sided thing, if you are a spender and your spouse is a saver then make sure you are both getting some benefits out of changing the agreement.
If you are looking to start becoming a better money couple I would recommend you check out our eGuide “A Couple Guide To Money”. It’s will walk you through the steps that you need to cover to be better with your finances as a couple.