| January 22, 2013

Simple Ways to Involve Your Spouse in the Household Finances

Many couples have their own preferences for paying bills, saving money and handling household finances.

There is no right or wrong way for couples to manage their income, and many households have their own preferences for paying bills, saving money and handling their day-to-day financial affairs. For some families, one person manages the finances, while other couples may decide to do it together. Others may keep their finances separate, while some spouses choose to take responsibility for certain financial categories. The key to effective money management is for couples to devise a plan that works for their particular circumstances. So when one spouse begins to feel overburdened by managing the money and wants their partner to become more involved, it’s important to make the transition gently.

There are several ways in which a person that has not been introduced to budgeting, paying bills and other aspects of handling the finances to take more of a role. For example, it can be enlightening for the person who normally handles all aspects of the household income to sit down with their spouse and review their income, monthly expenditures and budget. It’s not uncommon for someone who does not manage bills to be unaware of how much of their income goes toward their cost of living. In these instances, a budget can be particularly helpful, and should outline how much is spent each month in housing costs, utilities, food and transportation. It’s also important for individuals to see how much is being put toward savings, insurance and other safety nets.

Playing a more active role in finances

Educating a spouse on the inner workings of the household finances may encourage them to play a more active role. This may involve adopting some of the bill paying responsibilities, balancing checkbooks or making alterations to the family budget. Keep in mind that this may not happen overnight, and it may be preferable to ease a spouse into taking on more responsibility rather than unloading all of the tasks onto them in one fell swoop. It’s also important for families to understand that money management is not always simple, and some people may be more adept at meeting payment deadlines, spending responsibly and saving money than others. In these cases, consulting with a credit counselor or financial adviser may help couples get on the right track.

Partners who sit down together to manage income may also find that this task brings them closer and encourages them to make better spending decisions.

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