We asked a handful of couples financial questions to see who was on the same page about their money habits. While no couple got every question correct, it became clear that there are a few important issues everyone should talk about with their partner before they start sharing expenses.
From the somewhat superficial to the definitely necessary, we have you covered.
1. What monthly bills are you both paying?
Lots of streaming sites and entertainment portals allow multiple people to create profiles under the same account, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Spotify and Google Play. Even though the monthly costs for each service may seem low, you could save hundreds a year by taking an hour to consolidate accounts with your partner.
Fitness centers like the YMCA will also give you a deal on a family membership, so you don't each have to pay separately for the gym.
Do you each need to keep your car?
Go through your various subscriptions and monthly payments. If you figure out how you can streamline, you can save big.
2. Are you planning on any big life changes in the next few years?
Thinking idly about switching careers? Going back to school? Having kids and staying home with them? Clue your partner in. However obvious you think your plans are, they may be assuming you want something completely different.
If you don't tell them you want more, they may assume you'll stay in your lucrative but unfulfilling job forever. They may even be banking on it.
Whether or not you rely on each other financially, it's useful to make sure you're on the same page about your personal and shared goals. Otherwise you may find your dreams of retiring to Costa Rica at 60 dashed by a partner who figures they'll never retire so why bother even trying to save.
3. What are you willing to spend money on — and what aren't you?
Some people think doling out dollars to upgrade airline seats is worth it, while others think even traveling for vacation while you have loans to pay is extravagant.
Are you and your partner in agreement on whether you should pay a cleaning service help maintain order? How do they feel about grocery delivery? Online gambling? Stocking up at Sephora or splurging on Seamless?
Talk to your partner so you're not blindsided when the credit card bill arrives.
4. What's in your emergency fund?
It doesn't matter how much is in your fund as long as you two agree on an amount that will cover you should disaster strike. You don't want to be forced to have this conversation for the first time when one of you is in traction.