MoneyTalk for Couples: What are your financial goals

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Stacey Black, BECU Financial Advisor
By Stacey Black, BECU Financial Advisor

When it comes to any relationship, aligning on money matters is important as it plays a pivotal role in every aspect of a couple’s life. 

Although talking about finances may not be the most fun conversation to have, there’s no doubt it’s an important one that can have long-term impact.

To make defining your relationship with money easier as a couple, BECU Lead Financial Educator Stacey Black suggests that you kickstart the conversation with this question:

What are your financial goals? 

Black recommends that you don’t dive into a “money talk” that’s all about spreadsheets, budgets and paying your bills – that’s a recipe to stress both of you out. 

Instead, start with a broader conversation about your financial goals – do you want to buy a house? What type of lifestyle do you want to live? 

Then, create realistic goals you can both actually live by and make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to short- and long-term plans. This will open up broader conversations about money and also help to see if you are on the same page when it comes to short-term and long-term financial goals around saving, spending, budgeting and reducing debt.
For example, when creating goals around your emergency fund, Black recommends saving for at least three months of expenses. 

“However, for many people this can be overwhelming. Don’t get discouraged. What’s most important is to get into the habit of saving. Set goals you can actually achieve within a shorter amount of time,” said Black. 

In addition, each couple can start by learning about the 50-20-30 rule and tracking their spending each month. 

Here’s how the 50-20-30 rule works:
  • 50% of your income should go toward your everyday needs, including rent, utilities and other items like groceries and transportation.
  • 20% of your income goes toward your financial goals, such as saving and reducing debt.
  • 30% of your income is typically used for items you want versus need, such as outings or travel expenses.
Try creating a spending journal together to see how and where you’re spending your money and divide each spend into one of these three categories. Keep in mind that this approach is one general rule of thumb – you can always adjust to meet your collective budgeting goals.


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