Talking about money can put a strain on any relationship. The good news is that it’s possible for couples to achieve financial harmony and plan their dream projects too. 

Here are three common questions about budgets for couples:

How do you deal with one spouse making more money?

Some households split expenses based on each spouse’s income. Other couples use a fixed percentage. 

Frédéric Désilets, Sun Life advisor, recommends thinking of the couple as a team. “It would be awkward to divide the couple’s expenses evenly if their incomes are different and don’t reflect how hard each person works.”

Take a doctor and a nurse, for example. “Their incomes are different but they both work very hard. Some might feel it’s unfair to ask the spouse who earns less to pay as much as the spouse who earns more.”

Instead, Frédéric suggests looking at household income as a whole. “The spouse that earns more pays more.” The couple can then decide on a lifestyle that works for both of them. 

How do you create a budget as a couple? 

A good budget helps you make decisions and plan your life together. And the secret to a good budget is good communication between spouses.

Talk openly and honestly about your: 

  • debts,
  • expenses, and
  • sources of income. 

How do you get started on a budget? Here are some options:

  • Have a look at your most recent credit card and debit card statements. 
  • Make a list of your current expenses. 
  • Group similar expenses together using interactive tools. 
  • Try our Budget calculator
  • Get a financial check-up by taking this quiz

How do you save money as a couple? 

An advisor can help you come up with a sound plan. Then, they can work with you to create a savings strategy. “As someone who’s neutral, an advisor can focus on a couples’ financial best interest,” Frédéric Désilets explains. 

An advisor can help you:

  • Get financially fit as a couple.
  • Achieve your shared goals at each life stage with savings products like a TFSA or RRSP.

And remember, living within your means as a couple is just as important as open communication. “Disagreements usually happen when money is tight,” Frédéric says. 

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