Financial wellness blog, Dec. 2021 banner, mobile view, Travis CU

Couples that Need Help with Financial Planning

For many of us, sharing our personal financial situation with anyone can be awkward, embarrassing, uncomfortable or even difficult. If you’re married or in a serious relationship, however, that uneasiness can cause relationship problems. Money-related issues are the number-one cited reason for divorce, and it is a common pain-point in relationships.

Having a roadmap to help setting goals as a couple can help chart a healthier financial future. It can also improve the overall well-being of relationships. Here’s how you and your significant other can work collaboratively on long term financial planning to reach your financial dreams together.

Setting Goals

Each couple has their own way of talking about money. For some, it occurs naturally in easy, loveseat-sofa conversations. For others, a more structured kitchen-table approach is preferred, where everything is literally laid out on the table. No matter how you do you, be sure that each partner brings a list of financial planning goals to the conversation, along with an open mind. The key to a successful financial partnership is communication and compromise, which will help make setting goals much easier.

Share your lists with each other and the reasons why you think each step of your financial planning process is important. Individual goals and common goals can co-exist when couples develop a shared vision that makes each person feel equal in the goal-setting process. The results of your discussion should be a list of shared goals that you both agree are important milestones in your financial life together.

Importance of Financial Planning

Wondering how to set financial goals? Once you’ve identified what your financial goals are as a couple, take a realistic look at what it will take to reach those targets. Have an honest talk about whether each of those goals are attainable or just wishful thinking.

Next, develop actionable plans to achieve your goals. For example, if you have a goal of buying a home together, consider the steps necessary to get there. One of the first things you should do is a budget review to see where your finances are as a couple. Determine your income versus expenses by identifying all your debts, discretionary spending and combined net income. You can use this budget worksheet.

This exercise will provide you with clear budget picture that you can use to identify any changes needed to help you save for a down payment and to prepare for monthly mortgage payments and other costs. You can use Travis Credit Union’s MyInsight digital money management tool to view all of your bills in one place so you can determine your net worth at a glance.

Major purchases such as a home require good credit. To stay ahead of any potential credit issues, couples should review their credit report each year. If one partner has challenged credit, it is best to keep your individual credit separate while any credit issues are addressed. If you have good credit and apply for joint credit with someone who has challenged credit, it will hurt your good credit.

The three major reporting bureaus are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Did you know you can raise your credit score instantly using Travis Credit Union’s Experian Boost?

Another plan when buying a home is to determine how you and your partner will handle household bills. Discuss and decide who pays what bills. Couples with vastly different incomes may want to split the bills proportionally to their income. TCU offers Free Financial Education Webinars on topics such as budgeting, home buying and understanding your credit score to help you plan your financial life together.

Finally, set target completion dates and schedule check-ins with each other to track the progress of your goals. Remember that life is unpredictable and that goals may need to be adjusted based on circumstances. The key is to work through these hurdles together.

For more financial education information, visit TCU’s Smart Money Matters blog. To see the many ways we can help reach your goals, visit

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