Hi, My Frugalistas! After the success of the Real Men Use Coupons guest blog, I invited Frugalisto Terence Turner to do another article for me. This time, Terence is saying that people who date seriously should combine some finances- before marriage!! I knew combining finances in a marriage was a hot topic. But, I never considered it from an unmarried couple point of view. I always said that I would never do that, unless the person was my husband. However, Terence’s post made me think! Read his views below!
Romance and Finance Should Mix by Terence Turner
Boy meets girl.
Boy and Girl decide to be exclusive.
Boy and Girl fall in love.
Boy and Girl decide that they are working toward Oneness.
Boy and Girl both need new cellphones and phone plans.
Boy and Girl decide to get a family plan together.
Boy and Girl like to travel.
Boy and Girl decide to contribute to a joint account for such trips.
Are Boy and Girl out of order?
I say no. Why? Because Boy and Girl are building toward a future that they desire together.
In the context of courtship, we often times have had expectations for that level of commitment thrust upon us by misguided scriptures and tales from scorned practitioners. When it comes to money and a relationship, you are attempting to marry two distinct entities that have the power to break the other.
For purposes specific to this being a blog about financial discussions, let’s assess a few things.
Young couples should consider pooling their financial resources together sooner rather than later. My reasoning behind it is how else will you be able to gauge accountability when it comes to spending? Yes, you can assess the shopping habits of your mate (groceries, trips to New York & CO.), but consider the lessons you can receive when having to decide something as complex as getting a cellphone plan together? This is a shared expense which will require responsibility and discipline for the team.
Folks are scared of practicality. Let’s use the example of the “vacation fund”. Why not contribute to an account that is going to be used for a trip that both of you all will be on? Let’s think more locally. If you guys have date night often, it may be easier to contribute to that account so when that bill comes, it doesn’t turn into a game of “let me see if they are going to grab this. I did buy the movie tickets.”
For those of you who scoff at this notion, let’s be realistic. Not everybody you “date” or are “involved with” can handle this. Some of us get involved with folks that shouldn’t receive our energy, let alone the consideration of collaborating financially. Love is a risk, but more so an
the investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
Why can’t that investment begin to take place long before the “I Do” part of the ceremony?
As a young professional in a relationship, many folks love to say that the #1 reason for divorce is Money. Do you ever wonder what that couple was doing to financially prepare for that marriage? What habits did they rid themselves of individually, and begin to foster as a unit?
An expert by no means, but I welcome the lessons that dealing with money and love provide. When the two are intertwined, one has to appreciate the opportunities for growth that are presented.
Terence Turner is a recent graduate (Master’s) of The University of Toledo and works at UNC-Charlotte. Follow him on Twitter at @turnerthegreat
So what are your thoughts on this? Should unmarried couples share financial responsibilities such as phone bills, vacation accounts, etc.? Do you think it’s a great way to find out if your mate is good with money? Why or why not?