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Monday, February 26th, 2024

Couples and money: 6 common mistakes

The biggest mistake my husband and I are making when it comes to our finances is not having a joint budget.

If we had one, we would probably do a better job of co-ordinating our savings to reach our goals and pay down debt faster.

Related: How to have that difficult couples and money talk

I realized this after listening to financial author, speaker and money management guru Gail Vaz Oxlade, who delivered an early Valentine’s Day talk for couples. She spoke at ING Direct’s café in downtown Toronto.

Vaz Oxlade discussed the six biggest money mistakes that couples make:

1)      Hiding or lying about purchases.

2)      Not having a budget

3)      Giving one person control over all the finances

4)      Denying the debt

5)      Sweating the small stuff

6)      Not having an emergency fund

Marc and I have been married for 10 years and we are generally on the same page when it comes to money. Neither of us is extravagant and we talk to each other about major purchases. (Right now that’s anything over $200.) We don’t sweat the small stuff. (according to Vaz Oxlade, that means getting your britches into a knot about what your partner does with his or her personal money.)

I have my own emergency fund, and access to credit if I need more. Marc keeps a cushion in his chequing account also helps him maintain a minimum monthly balance and reduce his banking fees. If we work out a joint budget, we could probably come up with a joint emergency fund, too.

Vaz Oxlade, who coaches couples to get their finances in order on her hit show Til Debt Do Us Part, says “It’s really strange that you can talk to this person about what satisfies you sexually, where you want to live, what you like to eat, and to whom we pray, but we won’t talk about money.”

For those in a new relationship, or one that’s getting more serious, Vaz Oxlade suggests seven questions to ask your partner:

1)      Where do you do your banking and how long have you had your account?

2)      Do you have a pension plan?

3)      How much credit do you have?

4)      How much research do you do before you buy something?

5)      Do you keep your paperwork in working order?

6)      Do you have an emergency fund?

7)      Do you have a budget?

A budget is crucial, she says, because it’s a plan for how you are going to use your money.  “It’s not concrete shoes. If something changes in your life, you can go back and change your budget,” Vaz Oxlade said.

Also read:

 Why you should have a couples and money talk
How couples can merge finances easily




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