How to Future-Proof Finances in Your Relationship

Money is one of the most common areas of contention between couples. It can be a stumbling block in a happy relationship and on the path to financial stability. It can also keep you up at night worrying about whether you have enough to meet current and future obligations and goals.

Communication, collaboration, compromise, shared goals, and a budget plan are the keys to a financially healthy relationship. It also includes a commitment to keeping your finances and future in order.

We’ll explore each of the keys to success that will guide you and your partner to walk the path to a healthy, debt-free future together.

Couple sitting on couch reviewing documents


Now is the time to bring up the subject of money. Set aside time to discuss your honest expectations about how you both spend money.

If one of you spends more than the other, address this by identifying personal habits or hobbies that can get quite expensive in today’s economy. Some examples include smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages, manicures / pedicures, cinema visits, golfing, or dining out frequently. It’s normal to go on treats, but you should be mindful of the frequency and amount spent.

Discuss the debts you leave unpaid because of poor spending habits. You may owe money on credit cards, a car loan or mortgage, student loans, or income taxes. Ignoring these debts and paying minimum or late result in additional interest and penalties that may leave you in debt. You need to make changes if you spend more on lifestyle than on existing debt or household maintenance.

Do you know what your credit score is or how your credit report looks? Reviewing your credit report is your best defense against any collectors or fraudulent activity you may be unaware of. Make sure there are no surprises for either of you by contacting Canada’s two major credit bureaus, Trans Union and Equifax. If you applied for a car loan or a mortgage, the bank might notice something that requires your attention when they run a credit check. If your credit score is low, it is usually due to missed or no payments. Your debt-to-income ratio is most likely high.

Shared Goals

What are the financial goals of your relationship? Are these shared goals, or do you each have separate ideas about where you want to go? Determine your joint and separate goals and identify the ones to prioritize and how to achieve them.

Maybe one of you wants to save for a down payment on a house, while the other wants to replace a vehicle that is no longer reliable. Do you have children who need an education plan? Do you have an emergency fund? Are you both considering significant career changes or worried about downsizing at your job? When would you like to retire? 

Homeownership, a big vacation, a wedding, and having kids require careful planning, saving, and patience. There may be something that seems more important to you than it does to the other person, so discuss your expectations. You are in this together, so you need to work together toward your set goals.

To meet those goals, have the least amount of consumer debt, then it would be possible to save money and pay the debt.

Collaboration and Compromise

Decide which partner or spouse will take charge of the financial management plan. They don’t have to be the primary ‘breadwinner’, but they should be more financially literate and aware of household expenses. Making more money doesn’t imply that you’re better with it.

Always review the plan with the other person and discuss what works and what doesn’t in order to meet in the middle and stay on the same page. You will not achieve financial stability if you’re unwilling to compromise. It all comes back to the common goals. Focus on short-term goals (your car isn’t reliable right now, but buying a house is likely four to five years away), and what is causing the most immediate problems (interest rate or late fees).

Consider any potential roadblocks and discuss how they can be dealt with before they occur, assuming they occur at all. Plan now rather than later, and you’ll save yourself emotional stress.

Create a Budget

Monthly budgeting allows you to take control of your expenses before they take control of you. The first and most important step towards maximizing the power of your money is to create a budget. Without it, you’ll be unable to control your unmonitored finances and will always fall short of your goals. It is critical to know what is coming in and how it’s going out.

How often you budget is all about finding what works for you. It could be every paycheck, month, or week. There are numerous apps, tools, and budget calculators available online to help you identify your money management style.

Budgeting has numerous benefits, such as:

  • Making sure you don’t spend more than you earn
  • Helping you save for unexpected expenses by having a nest egg
  • Identifying exactly where your money goes and what may be costing you too much
  • Providing certainty in knowing what you can afford when making your shopping list
  • Helping you meet your long-term goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house
  • Creating a natural habit of distinguishing between a want and a need
  • Feeling less fearful about your finances by addressing issues as they arise rather than avoiding them
  • Making you feel better knowing you’re in charge of your financial future

Budgeting Tips

  • Use online banking to pay bills like insurance, internet, and phone.
  • Pay other bills as soon as they arrive. Don’t wait until the due date.
  • Pay off your entire credit card balance weekly and you will no longer have to worry about interest.
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it. Create a column for estimated costs of each item so you know exactly how much you’ll spend. Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
  • Quit or reduce major habits such as smoking and drinking.
  • Cut back on eating out and cook more at home. Dining out is a major expense for many people. It is cheaper to plan your meals for the week using ingredients that are on sale.
  • If you recently paid off a car, keep it for as many years as possible to save on car payments. Use the savings to make a down payment on a new or used replacement when the time comes. A new vehicle requires less maintenance but consider the monthly maintenance costs of an existing vehicle versus the monthly payment of another vehicle. If possible, vehicle loans should not exceed a 60-month payback period to avoid paying more interest.
  • Remember that a sale is only a good deal if it’s something you’ll use.
  • Direct tax refunds and GST cheques to savings or an emergency fund.
  • Create an emergency fund! If you saved $5 per day for a year, you would have $1825.


If you’re committed to a relationship, you should also be committed to meeting your financial goals as long as they are realistic. Controlling your financial plan together will relieve stress and prevent future problems. Does money buy happiness? No. But it doesn’t hurt! Financial stability promotes a healthy life free of many worries.

Have a good time planning your financial success. Then you can devote more of your valuable time to relaxing and recharging.

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