Stay True to Your Financial Vows

Don’t Let Money Ruin Your Relationship
Even if you’re in good financial shape, how money is handled can be a touchy subject in a relationship. And, when expenses exceed income, the difficulty of meeting (or not meeting) financial obligations can create high levels of stress and tension.

That’s why developing a financial strategy is key to maintaining a healthy relationship. Through communication and planning, you can spend, save and develop a strong and balanced financial future together.

Set financial goals together
Decide what you want to accomplish within a certain time frame. Review your mutual goals on a regular basis and adapt them if necessary to reflect changes in your circumstances.

Yours, mine, ours
Most people need to have money they can call their own, even if it’s just to surprise their partner with a gift. You might consider creating a joint account for groceries and rent, a joint account for savings and separate accounts for individual spending money.

Develop a realistic budget
Regardless of how your accounts are arranged, you should develop a budget to regulate spending. Once established, work together to determine whose paycheck will cover which costs. Also, predetermine how any leftover funds will be used after paying bills.

Set up an automatic savings plan
Think of all the cash you and your partner spend without thinking. Could you spare $10 a week? That would add up to $520 a year. How about $25 a week? That would blossom to $1,300 in a year, not including interest! An automatic savings plan lets you save before you spend.

Organize financial records
Keep track of statements, check stubs and receipts. These are important for taxes, checking for credit card or billing errors and monitoring spending.

Use credit sensibly
If you use credit, shop around to find low interest rates and annual fees. Pay cards off immediately or use them only for emergencies.

Determine your debt limit
A safe debt load, excluding rent or mortgage, is generally no more than 20 percent of your monthly take-home pay.

Get advice from the experts
Financial planning can be confusing, so don’t be shy about seeking professional help from an accountant or financial planner. If you’re concerned about your debt, free consumer credit counseling services are available in many communities.

Getting Help (Free Resources for Cox Employees):
Financial Coaching: Through Magellan, Cox employees have access to one-on-one phone conversations with financial experts on a range of topics, including debt, student loans, budgeting, estate and retirement planning. Call 1-800-888-CARE (2273), option 2. The organization name is Cox.