Tips for Building a Strong Financial Plan as a Couple

by Mary Ann Marriott, CIRP, LIT
February 14, 2024

Dealing with money as a couple can be a daunting task. However, it is critical to maintain peace and harmony in a relationship and to have a secure financial future. But where does one (or two) start?

Let’s explore six essential tips to help you build a strong financial plan together.

Open Communication

Begin by fostering open and honest communication about your financial aspirations, fears, and expectations. Discuss short-term and long-term goals, and ensure both partners are on the same page.

You might want to schedule regular check-ins where you discuss your spending habits, savings goals and any concerns or changes in your financial situation. Create a safe place to be open.

Assess Your Current Finances

Take stock of your current financial situation. Understand your combined income, expenses, debts, and assets. This evaluation will serve as a baseline for creating a realistic and achievable financial plan.

As an example, you could create a spreadsheet or use a budgeting app to list all your income sources, monthly expenses, outstanding debts, and assets. This snapshot will provide a clear picture of your financial health. Gather it all together and have it ready for that first check-in get-together.

Set Clear Goals

Define your short-term and long-term financial goals together. Whether it's buying a home, saving for education, or planning for retirement, having clear objectives provides direction to your financial plan.

Do a little wishful thinking / discussing. Simply talk about the things you want to do. What’s important to each of you. Perhaps you each make a list and then you compare them and rate them from most to least important. Come up with your top 2-3 and work them into your plan.

Account for Inflation

Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money over time. Factor in inflation when setting financial goals and allocating resources. Regularly review and adjust your plan to ensure it keeps pace with the rising cost of living.

As an example, if your goal is to save $50,000 for a down payment on a house in five years, factor in a reasonable inflation rate (e.g., 2-3% annually) to ensure that the purchasing power of your savings remains intact.

Regular Budget Reviews

Schedule regular budget reviews to track your spending patterns and ensure you stay within your financial limits. Adjust your budget as needed, accounting for changes in income, expenses, and financial goals.

Set aside time each month to review your spending and adjust your budget accordingly. If you notice you're consistently overspending on dining out, for instance, you might decide to allocate more funds to that category or find ways to cut back. This isn’t a one-time deal, you need to monitor it regularly to make the proper adjustments.

Seek Professional Guidance

Consider consulting with a financial advisor to receive personalized advice tailored to your specific situation. A professional can help you make informed decisions and provide strategies to optimize your financial plan.

That could mean that you schedule a meeting with a certified financial planner to discuss your long-term financial goals, investment strategies, and retirement plans. Or a financial counsellor who can teach you how to create and follow a budget. Or a Licensed Insolvency Trustee if your budget simply doesn’t work and you need help managing an overwhelming debt situation.

In conclusion, building a strong financial plan as a couple requires commitment, communication, and strategic thinking. By incorporating these ten tips into your financial approach, you can get a head start on inflation, plan for a crisis, and achieve your long-term goals together. Won’t that be nice?

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