I’ve talked a little bit about managing finances in a relationship, especially after you move in together, but Trevor and I recently took things to the next level—we saw a financial planner. This might sound like torture, but I think it’s actually one of the best things we’ve done as a couple for our relationship.
Here’s the deal—I look at other couples and I always wonder how they make things work money-wise. What method is working for them? Do they ever struggle with the same things Trevor and I do? Do they ever argue about each person’s individual financial priorities? I think we could all agree the money (and how to manage it) is a huge thing in any relationship, so going to see a financial planner really put things into perspective.
It forced me to take a long, hard look at myself
Talking to someone about money other than Trevor or my family was a serious reality check. One of the things the financial planner said to Trevor and I is that people will come in, talk about their goals, even go as far to work out a plan to make them reality, and then leave the meeting and go buy a $7 coffee from Starbucks. Now how does that help you start saving, pay down debt or invest? It doesn’t. If I learned anything that day, it was that I was the $7 Starbucks person. Sure, I had things I said I wanted to accomplish financially, but my actions did not reflect them.
Trevor and I finally felt like we were on the same page
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times Trevor and I have talked about money and what we both think we should be spending (not spending) it on. For example, I’ve written about how I love to travel and have made that a priority, but Trevor, not so much. What it boils down to though, is that we find value in different things. When we talked to the financial planner, he asked us all kinds of questions that forced us to confront our differences. Things like what we’d be willing to sacrifice, what we weren’t willing to sacrifice and what our financial goals were for the next three years.
Having an objective, third party person in the room was extremely helpful
The planner we saw is someone Trevor has actually known for quite a while and has been working with for six years. In one of our many conversations about money, Trevor and I agreed we wanted to talk to someone, but I didn’t want to go to Trevor’s guy because I was concerned he’d be bias towards Trevor’s perspective. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He was very objective and made both Trevor and I feel like both our concerns were being heard.
We left knowing what we needed to do
Trevor is a very, very good saver and I’m a very, very good spender—that’s really what it all boils down to. I don’t think either one of us were surprised by the feedback and the plan that was put in place before we left, but I think we both felt a million pounds light because for the first time we both agreed on what we needed to do next. Hint: DO NOT go to Starbucks and buy a $7 coffee.