ACCOUNTABILITY AND BUDGET RESPONSIBILITIES OF PERSONAL FINANCE
Healthy financial habits including the use of a simple budget are important in every relationship especially since money is the number one reason for divorce in Canada.
Perhaps you’re saving up for something special like a wedding or a holiday together and you want to save as much money as you both can, a budget is ideal.
As far as I’m concerned a budget is critical for everyone at all stages of their lives even during retirement years where money needs to be stretched even further.
When both Mrs. CBB and I would watch television shows such as Til Debt Do Us Part, Judge Judy or even Divorce Court we noticed 3 things about the individuals involved in financial disputes.
- Only one person took care of the financial responsibilities.
- They don’t use a budget, no mention of it or think they do by running numbers in their head.
- There is no organization, accountability or a lack of communication in relationships.
When we got married Mrs. CBB and I were already on the same page when it came to finances and we still are today.
I remember a time when we would sit and cut coupons to save a few dollars and knew that we were going to be fine because we could handle the good with the bad.
Some couples would never price match, use coupons or flip through the flyers to find the best deals to save money.
There’s no surprise that most marriages end in divorce court because of money matters. It’s one of the top reasons for divorce next to infidelity.
Family finances take trust and personal responsibility along with teamwork which is the premise of this blog post. If you’re not married holding yourself accountable week after week is crucial to your budgeting success as well.
You need to set your financial goals together and work on achieving them together.
Shared Budget Responsibilities
When it comes to our budget we share the tasks involved such as;
- Adding receipts to our monthly budget spreadsheet.
- Creating our shopping list, matching coupons, updating our grocery apps,
- Reviewing and filing the bills for the year.
- Paying the bills as they are not all auto-debited from our bank accounts.
- Updating the budget sheet weekly and again at the end of the month (she does the receipt checking and I do the budget charts)
- Tracking our investments is a task we both do together online by reviewing how our investments did over the course of a month.
- Tracking our bank accounts which used to be separate but we’ve since combined them after finding out what could happen if one of us should die.
It’s important and I stress that if you are in a relationship and your money is combined that you both understand how you are spending it. You won’t survive financially when only one person knows what’s going on and the other spends freely or on a permission basis.
Why should the headache be put on one person?
Although we have separate accounts we also have a joint account which has all of our savings and line of credit. I had to open my account to gain credit history in Canada.
Update 2019– We’ve since added both of our names to each bank account we own as well all utilities or financial documents so that in the event of death there is no red tape and probate.
Separate bank accounts can make money management less efficient so we are leaning towards a complete joint account but are simply being lazy. A joint account is much easier and forces each other to be financially responsible since the other one will see.
There’s nothing to hide when it comes to a joint account and when you’re married it all comes out of the same pot whether you like it or not. There shouldn’t be any of this “I make more money” or “you pay a percentage of this”, that’s silly because jealousy in relationships with money is a big no-no.
Financial Task Scheduling
Now we know who does what and when as we have written out a financial update schedule which allows us to track the tasks that are completed or need to be completed.
For the most part we sit down twice a month together and go over everything but there are times when we can’t do this so the chart comes in handy.
Now that we are parents time is limited so we must prioritize financial tasks so we get the job done in an efficient manner. It also helps that we post our monthly budget updates on the blog which holds us accountable to all of you.
- To make sure everything gets paid on time and is correct as not everything may be auto-paid and not every bill payment can be set up that way.
- So you both know what is going on with your finances and there are no surprises especially if one of you were to become ill or pass away.
If one of you died tomorrow and only one of you took care of the finances the other would have no idea where to begin. This could make for a very stressful situation on top of the loss of a significant other.
Ask yourself these 2 questions
- Do you know where all the important documents are kept and what they are?
- Do you know where all the money goes in the budget?
I leave you today in hopes you will work together as a couple to take charge and make a commitment, not only to your relationship but to your finances!
If you are single, well you’re doing all the work so there is no loss when it comes to who knows what and who does what! You’ve got it all for yourself!
Discussion: How do you and your spouse or partner balance budget responsibilities? If you are single or not budgeting with another how do you keep yourself accountable to your budget? Leave me a comment below.
Related Posts:Below are the Budgeting Series Steps 1 to 5 just in case you’ve landed on Step 6 first and would like to read them all which I suggest.