The point of this post: if you can’t be honest with your partner about money and financial planning, why are you with them?

ace heartsA healthy financial infrastructure is cost-effective, simple, flexible, and intuitive. It keeps you on budget, moves you closer to your goals, gives you a logical way to make choices when you have extra money (or not enough), and decreases your stress levels.

Let’s talk about something sensitive, just for fun: your relationship with your significant other and how it can weaken your financial infrastructure.

And so you can’t possibly misunderstand my point of view, here’s my (very) unvarnished opinion: if you can’t share accounts, assets, and financial goals with your significant other, then you have no business being in a relationship.

How did that grab you?

That advice runs counter to most modern financial planning wisdom, which generally recommends that you maintain separate accounts in order to protect yourself in case of a relationship breakdown.

In my career, I have come across every kind of financial arrangement between partners that you can think of. I’ve heard all the arguments, read (most of) the books, and – in my personal life – lived out an eleven year financial partnership with my spouse.

I’m not telling you that you have to hold every account or asset in common, or that you must pool every cent and have equal spending authority. I’m just telling you it’s a good idea.

At minimum, you need to agree on a system that you both feel is completely fair. You have to discuss it, set it up, and communicate about it regularly. You have to be understanding and gracious towards each other, and not cherish every little annoying instance when he got to spend an extra $23 on socks, but you haven’t bought a new book in years.

You don’t have to discuss every little purchase (although it’s not a bad idea, at least at first), but you do have to agree on what to discuss.

You have to agree on what your shared goals are and how you’re going to reach them. (You have to agree on how you’re going to pay for your personal goals, too, by the way.)

Come to think of it, in order to establish and maintain a healthy financial relationship with your partner, you have to nurture a healthy relationship with your partner and commit to maintaining it through good and bad.

Anything less and you might as well not partner up in the first place.