Couples financial Planning

Mad About Money? A Guide To The Talk All Couples Need To Have

February 12, 2018
Colin OSheaBy Colin O'Shea
Securities Analyst, Security National Bank

How to handle finances can be a major source of disagreement between couples. Although many people tend to avoid talking about their money differences with their significant other, opening the lines of communication early in your relationship can prevent friction and misunderstanding down the road.

Here are four important things for couples to remember during financial planning:


Usually, attitudes toward money begin in childhood and are deeply ingrained. Your family’s relationship with money can influence your own feelings about saving and spending. If your partner’s family doesn’t have similar values, the two of you may have a difficult time reconciling your differences.

Plan a time to discuss your goals and your feelings about money with your partner. Talking about how your families handled money may provide some insight into your approach to your own finances. And, despite your differences, you may find you have more values in common than you originally thought.


The purpose of talking about your attitudes toward money isn’t to convince one partner to adopt the other partner’s outlook. Discuss financial values with each other with the goal of reaching a mutual agreement about your spending plan.

If one of you wants to save every extra dollar and the other wants to spend it, you’re going to have to compromise. Choose a realistic amount to invest toward your goals. Then, set aside some money to spend on yourselves. The “spender” is more likely to stick with a savings plan that doesn’t leave him or her feeling deprived.


Both partners should understand all the details of your finances — and that includes each other’s assets and debts. Outlining your goals and creating a strategy to reach them should be one of your first priorities.

Then, determine how you’re going to handle your money. You may want to consider having separate checking accounts, as well as a joint account for paying bills.

You’ll also want to decide whether one partner will be responsible for paying bills or whether you’ll pay them together. If you need assistance, this SNB Monthly Budget Spreadsheet is a helpful way to measure your monthly finances.


When it comes to investing, it’s hard to change how someone feels about risk. If one of you is an aggressive investor with a high risk tolerance, while the other wants to preserve principal at all costs, choosing a mix of investments that’s acceptable to both of you may be a challenge.

If you and your partner share an investment portfolio, ask a Security National Bank financial professional to review your situation and make suggestions. Getting an objective assessment may help.

If you can’t reach a compromise, you may want to consider having separate investment portfolios. The conservative partner can stick with fixed-income and cash investments, while the partner who’s comfortable with risk can concentrate on equity investments.

In the end, communicating honestly with your partner about money is the key to creating a better financial match!


Colin O'SheaColin O’Shea is a Securities Analyst with Security National Bank in Sioux City, Iowa. He and his wife, Kimberly, are happily married with one child — and a long-term financial plan they’ve proudly worked together to formulate.