On the other hand, it can be a daunting (and sometimes frustrating) task if one of you is a habitual spender and the other is saver.
I’ve heard from other couples about the struggles and strains. Is there a way to help get your spouse on board? Can you save money and your marriage?
While every couple is different, I do believe that certain principles can help the two of you navigate this possibly tricky situation.
Start Small and Respect Each Other
Don’t expect your spouse to make changes overnight. More than likely they’ve had this habit for years before you two got together, so it will take some time to get them on board.
Understanding how they’ve picked up these patterns can give you a clearer idea on how to approach them about saving more.
Talking directly about money can be stressful and put some on the defensive, so it may instead be helpful to just talk about goals instead and go from there.
What does your spouse want to do in the next year or five? Do they want to switch jobs, travel more, or start a new hobby? You may be surprised to find a goal that you can get behind to help them to learn to save.
Split the Difference
What if your husband or wife wants to spend the money you just saved? What do you then? There are several ways you can tackle this, but you may find keeping small separate accounts a plus. Go ahead and split the money saved – you can save or invest your half and they can spend theirs.
You may find that your spouse will start seeing a difference without you having to constantly reminding them of the benefits of saving.
Show, Don’t Just Tell
Speaking of reminders, sometimes, it’s better to let the results do the talking. Even though you really have their (and your family’s) best interest at heart, showing them how fun saving can be can be more powerful than telling them.
Do you have something that you really love and want to get (without getting into debt)? Save for it. Keep your spouse in the loop by having a chart on the fridge with your progress. Perhaps they will see that it really doesn’t take long to buy what you want, you just need to have a plan.
Make It Easy to Save
What if it works? What if you get your spouse on board to try and save more money? Start off with a joint goal that you both want to reach – a debt free vacation, a new television, or just bumping up your emergency fund. The point is you want your spouse to be excited about saving.
Go ahead and make it easy on both of you – automate your savings so the money is transferred as quickly as it is deposited. That can be a huge help as the money is tucked away before the temptation to spend it kicks in.
Thoughts on Encouraging Your Spouse to Save
I’m saying this as someone who has a spouse who was a saver and I’ve learned to not only appreciate the frugality of it, but I’ve embraced it. Saving more went from being a financial buffer or something to do crunch time, but it has become an enjoyable habit. I can have fun now and still have something left over for later.
What about you? Have you two have to deal with two different ways of tackling money? Was one of you a spender and the other a saver? What helped you two to work it out?
One of the best ways to keep your money working for you is to make sure it is stashed in the best bank and investment accounts.
Every couple has their particular preferences on what they are looking for, but there are some basic requirements that you no doubt want to keep in mind so your money stays with you instead of lining a bank or brokerage’s pockets.
No matter how you handle finances, it is helpful to review your accounts every now and then to make sure you’re earning the money you deserve. You may find that there is a better deal out there for the two of you.
Getting the Right Checking and Savings Account for You
Having the best checking and savings accounts for your family can be a huge boost to your finances. We learned this firsthand when we opened our first joint accounts.
When we were married, we picked Bank of America to be our home for our joint accounts. It made to us – it had plenty of branches and ATMs in the area and I had a student checking account that I was fine with.
I’ve about it before, but long story short, it was not the right bank for us. For all the hassles, we were really getting anything. Every quarter they’d show the interest we earned in our savings account and it was a joke – literally pennies.
Fed up, we switched and have been happy with our joint accounts at CapitalOne 360. We have fantastic service with them, earn more interest on our savings, and more importantly, it’s easier to stay on top of our finances.
I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a new bank. Whether you go with them or not, you two should be using a bank or credit union that fits your goals.
Make Your Accounts Work for You
The first step is probably defining what essentials the accounts need to do well and what you’d like the accounts to have.
For our primary checking account account we needed a place that was:
Reliable (FDIC or NCUA insured)
No maintenance fees
Pretty fast (and free) bill pay system
Conveniently located ATMs
Good customer service
We also wanted a place where our savings could actually earn us some real money.
When it came to making a choice we went with Capital One 360 (back when it was ING Direct).
We started by moving over our savings and we very pleased with the interest we were getting every month.
Next we moved our checking account, keeping some buffer money in our old account for a little bit in case we forgot any semi-annual bills.
It can be easy to accumulate several different investment accounts, especially if you’ve changed jobs over the years. Rolling over your 401(k) can be fantastic way for you to consolidate your accounts and have more control over your money.
Besides your retirement accounts at work, if you don’t have them already, consider opening up an IRA for each of you.
These accounts can be powerful assets as you make your contributions. One of their biggest advantage is that you have more freedom in what investments you choose unlike a 401(k) where you may only have limited options.
When looking at where we wanted to stash our money, we chose Vanguard and Betterment. I like Vanguard for a few reasons:
Lower Fees: Vanguard’s index funds are some of the lowest in the industry. If you register for e-delivery of account documents, Vanguard won’t charge you an annual account service fee.
Free ETFs: Being with Vanguard means I can buy their ETFs free. Since I already buy these it would save me some money.
Solid Reputation: Vanguard is known for having great customer service and being a valuable resource when it comes to investing. They offer investing advice in an understandable language.
For my husband, Betterment was a practical solution. Like Vanguard, Betterment makes index investing simple and easy to set up and manage.
Saves Money: Betterment is very reasonably priced. There are no transaction fees, no deposit/withdrawal fees, and no fees to rebalance your portfolio.
Saves Time: Keeping your portfolio on target with your asset allocation is easy with Betterment as it’s done automatically for you. You don’t have to stress out about where to invest. Once you’ve set your plan, Betterment automates the process.
Easy to Navigate: Going through the set up process was a snap. In addition to asking me for personal and funding information to open the account, Betterment also went ahead asked about financial goals we had.
Encourages Contributions: The easiest way to stay on target for your investment goals is to go ahead and automate your IRA contributions. With Betterment, it’s quick and easy to set-up so you don’t have to remind yourself to make your monthly contribution.
We’re really happy with both companies and recommend them for anyone who needs a a place to build their investments.
Get a Free Portfolio Check Up Today
If you want to keep tabs on your money, there are some wonderful and free options like Mint and Personal Capital.
Mint allows you to pull all the data from your various accounts into one place. We’ve used them to quickly set-up and adjust our budget.
With Personal Capital you can get a financial snapshot of all of your accounts and you may qualify to get a free portfolio check-up to make sure your investments are aligned with your personal goals.
Thoughts on Banking as a Couple
Every couple is different, so I’m very curious to see how you handle your finances. How many accounts do you have between the two of you?
How do you stay on top of what you have? Which banks, brokerages, and credit unions do you love to use?