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How to Discuss Finances with Your Partner Without Killing Each Other

How to Discuss Finances with Your Partner Without Killing Each Other

Money is often cited as the number one topic that couples fight about. This can be incredibly trying, especially when you and your significant other have different views about the ways that your money should be saved and spent. Listed below are a few ways that you can talk openly and honestly about money in your relationship, but of course, no two relationships are the same, so you might have to try several of these tactics in order to find the one that works best for you.

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    Understand Their Background

    Instead of fighting about money, first try to understand how your significant other grew up. Were they raised in a home where they were taught to pinch pennies? Or, were they raised in a home where they were able to buy whatever they wanted? Often, people have difficulty leaving their personal upbringing behind when it comes to creating their own way of managing money. We often mimic the money management systems that our parents use, which might not work when we bring another person into our lives. Understanding why they are the way that they are in terms of finances can help open the door for some clear conversations.

    Establish Trust

    Establishing trust is one of the most important things a couple can try to do when they are managing their money. This can be difficult since many people might wish to buy extravagant things without telling their partners, thus breaking their trust. At first, you might have to resort to only using cash and writing down what you spend, but you should be able to rebuild that trust eventually and communicating within the relationship will become easier.

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    Have a Common Goal

    We should all have some idea of the money we want to save and financial goals we want to achieve, be that taking a trip, paying off credit card debt, or something entirely unique . If you and your partner share the same goal (like a romantic vacation), working together to save the money for it can put a positive spin on managing money.

    Talk To a Financial Counselor

    There are many financial counselors who also specialize in helping relationships: you just need to do an Internet search to find one who can help you plan for your future and understand your partner’s goals and habits as well. Going to talk to a financial counselor can definitely be an intimidating experience, but people often feel so much better after they do, since financial counselors can give you realistic numbers of the amount of money you should be saving and spending. You’ll leave feeling informed, organized, and rejuvenated.

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    Have “Fun Money” Accounts

    Most of the arguments that couples have about finances are in regard to how each person should be spending money—most often, with one partner getting mad or upset that the other has purchased something they shouldn’t have. This can be avoided if each person has a specified amount of money that they can spend on whatever they like. If they want to save for a few months and buy an iPad, they can do that; if they want to spend it all right away on a hundred packs of M&Ms, they can do that too. The important thing is that each person can decide what to do with his or her own “fun money”—this establishes trust and allows each person to get what he or she wants (within reason).

    Manage it Together

    If you find that you and your partner consistently argue about money, it’s time to get organized. Sit down together once a week for a budget meeting so each person is fully aware of how much each other has, and what needs to be done each week to keep your budget in check. This type of meeting can really keep the lines of communication open and encourage each of you to stay accountable for the amount of money you spend.

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    Track Your Money

    Getting into the habit of writing down everything you buy will help you to be aware of your spending patterns, and so much more. Pretty soon, you will consider each purchase and ask yourself if you want to write it down—this keeps you from spending needlessly. If both you and your partner get into this habit, you can be well on your way to attaining financial freedom and having fewer arguments about money.

    The tips and techniques above are not for everyone, and I’m not a relationship expert. I do know from experience, however, that utilizing at least one of them can help your relationship to be more open, honest, and understanding. Every relationship has trying times now and then, and these tips can help you to avoid some of the tensions that can arise when you disagree about money.

     

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    Last Updated on January 2, 2019

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

    Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

    Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

    Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

    This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

    Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

    What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

    Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

    When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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    How It Leads to Financial Improvement

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

    Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

    Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

    It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

    Types of Personal Finance Software

    When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

    Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

    For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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    Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

    When to Use Personal Finance Software

    So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

    Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

    1. You Have Multiple Accounts

    There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

    If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

    Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

    2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

    Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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    There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

    With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

    3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

    Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

    Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

    Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

    4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

    Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

    You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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    How to Get Started

    From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

    Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

    It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

    When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

    Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

    Final Thoughts

    Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

    In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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