Couples and Money: 5 Tips for a Healthy Financial Marriage

financial planing for couples maryland

Couples and Money: 5 Tips for a Healthy Financial Marriage

When it comes to couples and money, communication is the key to a healthy financial marriage. Here is a list of simple tips to keep you and your partner on the loving path with your finances.

  1. Have a Long-Term Plan and Set Annual Goals.

At FSA we spend a lot of time working with couples and money to define their financial goals. We encourage clients to paint a picture of what they want their future to look like. According to a Harvard Business study, participants who set goals were 10 times more successful than those without goals. Having goals allows you to be more intentional with your finances moving forward.

Planning for the future also releases one spouse from being the “bad guy” when it comes to spending. If one partner is considering a big purchase, the other does not have to say “no” outright. They can point out that the new purchase would derail the long-term plan the couple built together.

  1. Be Honest About Risk Tolerance.

When working with couples and money, we often see a mismatch in the amount of risk each spouse is comfortable taking with their investments. One person prefers to ride the ups and downs of the market to earn higher investment returns. Their partner may be more comfortable keeping their savings under their mattress.

We can help by creating an allocation that represents a blend of each persons’ preference. Both spouses should have a voice when it comes to their investments.

  1. Strike a Compromise on Spending Habits.

For many couples, a discrepancy in spending habits is the core of many financial conflicts. If one partner is more of a spender and the other is a saver, resentment can grow on both sides. As financial planners, we can mediate these conversations and help find a compromise.

We’ve seen couples set dollar limits on purchases made without the other person’s consent. Other couples keep separate accounts, so they aren’t tempted to criticize each other’s spending habits. In most cases, both parties must make concessions. Our mission is to find a balance between enjoying your hard-earned money and having enough savings to fund your long-term goals.

  1. Don’t Leave Everything Up to One Person.

The decision to leave finances up to one person often creates problems down the road. If the first spouse passes away, they leave their surviving spouse with an unfamiliar system to navigate blindly. We encourage both spouses to stay engaged in family finances and have a plan for emergencies.

At the very least, make sure both spouses know where important documents, such as wills and powers of attorney, are kept. Along with these documents should be a log of important usernames and passwords. We’re happy to help you develop a plan and be there for you in the event of an emergency.

  1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Couples.

The temptation is real to want to keep up with the Joneses. It’s natural to see pictures of your neighbor on his shiny new boat and feel pangs of jealousy. Our friends can influence us to make financial decisions that negatively impact our long-term plan.

What you don’t see is that your neighbor has to work an extra five years as a result of the added boat expense. This wouldn’t make sense for you since retiring early is one of your top priorities. By getting clear on what is important to you and your family, we can help you stay on track with your financial goals.

When it comes to couples and money, keeping your financial relationship healthy requires a lot of communication. We can be your (financial) marriage counselors by facilitating these important conversations. Our goal is to help you establish your long-term plan and make decisions to keep you on the right path together.


Kanaat, Robert. The Harvard MBA Business School Study on Goal Setting. Retrieved from

Photo by Kristina Litvjak

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About Author

Kim D

For over three decades, Financial Services Advisory has helped clients manage their money through good times and bad. We customize an individualized approach for every client looking to invest while focusing on protecting what you have worked so hard to create. When working with FSA, you will find our goal in managing investments to help you protect your wealth while growing it wisely.

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