When Alli Williams married her husband in 2019, she knew she would be marrying into about $150,000 of student loan debt.
Now, a few years later, she and her husband have gotten on the same financial page with their budgets and bank accounts, and they’ve paid off not only his student loans but also their credit cards and their truck. Williams had become debt-free individually when she was 25, and now, at 30, the couple are debt-free together.
“Paying off debt isn’t the hard part,” Williams says. “Managing your money is the harder part.”
Williams, a South Carolina-based money coach and owner of FinanciALLI Focused, says that when she and her husband got engaged in 2018, that was the first time they created a combined budget. They keep their spending low and benefit from living in a low-cost area, and they’ve been strategic about using percentages of windfalls to pay off debt and to save. But the real key, she says? Frequent communication and check-ins about money.
Money can be a very personal and — at times — stressful component of a romantic partnership. Handling debts, bank accounts, credit cards and bills together isn’t only a logistical challenge, it’s also a new avenue for potential conflict. If one half of a couple likes to save money while the other person is a compulsive spender, that pair will likely need to have some difficult conversations to avoid resentment in the long run. For those conversations, there are professionals who can provide guidance and insight.
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Benefits of a financial advisor for couples
Similar to a therapist, a financial advisor or money coach can create a safe space for couples to discuss issues and plan for their futures together.
Liz and Dan Carroll, an Oregon-based couple and owners of Mindful Money Coaches, have been married for 31 years. They use their personal success with money management to provide actionable advice to their clients, such as teaching them how to create long-term money plans together.
“Everyone is a good candidate for at least an annual check-in with a money coach,” Liz says. “And just like with the compound interest you get with investing, the earlier you start the better.”
If you and your partner decide to work with a certified financial advisor instead of a money coach, make sure to choose one that operates as a fiduciary, which means they’re obligated to put your interests ahead of profit. Nonfiduciary financial advisors make commissions from products they sell to their clients, so they could pressure clients to …….