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How to Have the Money Talk When You’re Dating (+ Printable Games!)

If you’re dating someone you see a future with, talking about money is an important step in your relationship. While most couples try to avoid the topic of money altogether, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship, having the money talk early (and often) can help ensure you and your partner are on the same page — or at least heading in the same direction.

After all, you wouldn’t want to get engaged without knowing whether your partner has a budget in place or an outstanding debt that could become your own.

The money conversation gets a bad reputation for being awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Addressing money early on is one great way to keep you and your partner feeling comfortable in your relationship trajectory. Use the printables below to turn your money talk into a chance to get to know your partner better through fun games and conversation starters.

Turn Money Talk into a Date Night

While having the money talk is essential, you don’t want to spring it on your partner out of nowhere. You also don’t want to wait until a fight around money arises. Instead, consider scheduling a date night for you and your partner to talk about money. Let them know that you’ll be discussing finances, and ask them to come with any questions or concerns of their own.

You’ll want to schedule the date somewhere where you and your partner can have an open and honest conversation. Staying in is a great option, but if you do decide to venture out, pick somewhere quiet and intimate.

You can kick off your money date with this game of Never Have I Ever, which is a lighthearted and honest way to talk about past financial situations you and your partner may have been involved in.

Never Have I Ever Mockup

Download Never Have I Ever

Ease Into the Conversation

When talking about money, remember to tread lightly — especially at first. Most people have firm beliefs about finances, and you and your partner will probably have different views during certain money talk discussions. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to come up with a plan or solution for every potential financial problem right away.

You’ll want to consider where you are in your relationship before you tackle certain sticky situations. After all, you may not want to dive right into prenuptial agreements or retirement savings when you’ve only been seeing each other for a few months.

These conversation starters will let you ease into the conversation without heightened tensions. We’ve categorized these by relationship stage so you and your partner can easily decide what you feel comfortable discussing, and when.

Let's Talk Money, Honey! Mockup

Download Lets Talk Money, Honey!

Learn More About Your Partner’s Wants

People have different desires and expectations for what their life will look like in the future. While some people are determined to reach the peak of professional success, others prioritize family time and fun.

Understanding your partner’s preferences allows you to evaluate and manage expectations in your relationship early on. Would you be upset if your partner turned down a promotion in order to spend time at home? Conversely, would you be okay if your family took fewer vacations in order to afford a more expensive mortgage?

You can learn more about your partner’s preferences with this game of Would You Rather. Print out the sheet below for a fun and revealing activity about your partner’s wants.

Would You Rather Mockup

Download Would You Rather

Set Future Goals Together

Understanding your partner’s future plans is just as essential as learning about their financial past. This vision board craft will let you and your partner articulate your dreams and the steps needed to achieve them. While not every life goal is directly tied to growing your assets, almost every dream requires some sacrifice and money spent.

You and your partner should each fill out a vision board with two to three goals you hope to achieve over the next five years. Feel free to use colored pencils or markers to get more creative! Once you’ve both completed your sheets, share them with each other. Remember to ask your partner specific questions about their goals so they know you’re actively listening.

Couples Vision Board Mockup

Couples Vision Board Download Button

Acknowledge and Appreciate Your Differences

As you have the money talk with your partner, you’ll probably notice some differences in your attitudes towards finances. You’ll also likely have different priorities when it comes to spending and saving.

For example, you may not see the value in buying expensive workout equipment for the garage, and your partner may not agree with you spending a few hundred dollars on clothes every month.

These differences don’t mean there’s trouble in paradise: everyone has a different relationship with money and you don’t have to match up to your partner on everything. In fact, even big disagreements can be worked through with communication and compromise.

You may be a spender and your partner may be a saver, and that’s okay. Rather than tearing your partner down for their financial opinions, celebrate your differences with these appreciation cards. Write down things like “I love how you invest time, money, and energy into your health and body” to let your partner know you respect their goals and passions.

Download All Button

Make a Monthly Budget Tracker

If you and your partner are gearing up to take things to the next level, whether that be moving in together, getting engaged, or another relationship milestone, consider setting aside time during your money talk to prepare a monthly budget.

Our free budget tool lets you create a budget and then track your spending each month to see if you’re meeting your financial goals. You can also stay on top of shared bills and receive personalized tips and advice.

Remember that a budget isn’t written in permanent ink: you and your partner can learn and grow together and make adjustments when needed. Even if you aren’t combining finances yet, you can use this monthly budget as a mockup plan for the future.

While sometimes it may seem easier to avoid the money talk altogether, the best way to prevent future arguments over finances is to discuss money early and often. Remember that keeping conversations casual and positive as you learn about your partner’s relationship with money is key.

As your relationship progresses, so will your conversations around finances and how to work together to achieve your individual and shared goals. Check out our list of money talk dos and don’ts, and remember to celebrate financial victories big and small with your partner as you go.

Sources: Investopedia

The post How to Have the Money Talk When You’re Dating (+ Printable Games!) appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

75 Personal Finance Rules of Thumb

A “rule of thumb” is a mental shortcut. It’s a heuristic. It’s not always true, but it’s usually true. It saves you time and brainpower. Rather than re-inventing the wheel for every money problem you face, personal finance rules of thumb let you apply wisdom from the past to reach quick solutions.

I’m going to do my best Buzzfeed impression today and give you a list of 75 personal finance rules of thumb. Some are efficient packets of advice while others are mathematical shortcuts to save brain space. Either way, I bet you’ll learn a thing or two—quickly—from this list.

The Basics

These basic personal finance rules of thumb apply to everybody. They’re simple and universal.

1. The Order of Operations (since this is one of the bedrocks of personal finance, I wrote a PDF explaining all the details. Since you’re a reader here, it’s free.)

2. Insurance protects wealth. It doesn’t build wealth.

3. Cash is good for current expenses and emergencies, but nothing more. Holding too much cash means you’re losing long-term value.

4. Time is money. Wealth is a measure of how much time your money can buy.

5. Set specific financial goals. Specific numbers, specific dates.

6. Keep an eye on your credit score. Check-in at least once a year.

7. Converting wages to salary: $1/per hour = $2000 per year.

8. Don’t mess with City Hall. Don’t cheat on your taxes.

9. You can afford anything. You can’t afford everything.

10. Money saved is money earned. When you look at your bottom line, saving a dollar has the equivalent effect as earning a dollar. Saving and earning are equally important.

Budgeting

I love budgeting, but not everyone is as zealous as me. Still, if you’re looking to budget (or even if you’re not), I think these budgeting rules of thumb are worth following.

11. You need a budget. The key to getting your financial life under control is making a budget and sticking to it. That is the first step for every financial decision.

12. The 50-30-20 rule of budgeting. After taxes, 50% of your money should cover needs, 30% should cover wants, and 20% should repay debts or invest.

13. Use “sinking funds” to save for rainy days. You know it’ll rain eventually.

14. Don’t mix savings and checking. One saves, the other spends.

15. Children cost about $10,000 per kid, per year. Family planning = financial planning.

16. Spend less than you earn. You might say, “Duh!” But if you’re not measuring your spending (e.g. with a budget), are you sure you meet this rule?

Investing & Retirement

Basic investing, in my opinion, is a ‘must know’ for future financial success. The following rules of thumb will help you dip your toe in those waters.

17. Don’t handpick stocks. Choose index funds instead. Very simple, very effective.

18. People who invest full-time are smarter than you. You can’t beat them.

19. The Rule of 72 (it’s doctor-approved). An investment annual growth rate multiplied by its doubling time equals (roughly) 72. A 4% investment will double in 18 years (4*18 = 72). A 12% investment will double in 6 years (12*6 = 72).

20. “Don’t do something, just sit there.” -Jack Bogle, on how bad it is to worry about your investments and act on those emotions.

21. Get the employer match. If your employer has a retirement program (e.g. 401k, pension), make sure you get all the free money you can.

22. Balance pre-tax and post-tax investments. It’s hard to know what tax rates will be like when you retire, so balancing between pre-tax and post-tax investing now will also keep your tax bill balanced later.

23. Keep costs low. Investing fees and expense ratios can eat up your profits. So keep those fees as low as possible.

24. Don’t touch your retirement money. It can be tempting to dip into long-term savings for an important current need. But fight that urge. You’ll thank yourself later.

25. Rebalancing should be part of your investing plan. Portfolios that start diversified can become concentrated some one asset does well and others do poorly. Rebalancing helps you rest your diversification and low er your risk.

26. The 4% Rule for retirement. Save enough money for retirement so that your first year of expenses equals 4% (or less) of your total nest egg.

27. Save for your retirement first, your kids’ college second. Retirees don’t get scholarships.

28. $1 invested in stocks today = $10 in 30 years.

29. Inflation is about 3% per year. If you want to be conservative, use 3.5% in your money math.

30. Stocks earn 7% per year, after adjusting for inflation.

31. Own your age in bonds. Or, own 120 minus your age in bonds. The heuristic used to be that a 30-year old should have a portfolio that’s 30% bonds, 40-year old 40% bonds, etc. More recently, the “120 minus your age” rule has become more prevalent. 30-year old should own 10% bonds, 40-year old 20% bonds, etc.

32. Don’t invest in the unknown. Or as Warren Buffett suggests, “Invest in what you know.”

Home & Auto

For many of you, home and car ownership contribute to your everyday finances. The following personal finance rules of thumb will be especially helpful for you.

33. Your house’s sticker price should be less than 3x your family’s combined income. Being “house poor”—or having too expensive of a house compared to your income—is one of the most common financial pitfalls. Avoid it if you can.

34. Broken appliance? Replace it if 1) the appliance is 8+ years old or 2) the repair would cost more than half of a new appliance.

35. Used car or new car? The cost difference isn’t what it used to be. The choice is even.

36. A car’s total lifetime cost is about 3x its sticker price. Choose wisely!

37. 20-4-10 rule of buying a vehicle. Put 20% of the vehicle down in cash, with a loan of 4 years or less, with a monthly payment that is less than 10% of your monthly income.

38. Re-financing a mortgage makes sense once interest rates drop by 1% (or more) from your current rate.

39. Don’t pre-pay your mortgage (unless your other bases are fully covered). Mortgages interest is deductible, and current interest rates are low. While pre-paying your mortgage saves you that little bit of interest, there’s likely a better use for you extra cash.

40. Set aside 1% of your home’s value each year for future maintenance and repairs.

41. The average car costs about 50 cents per mile over the course of its life.

42. Paying interest on a depreciating asset (e.g. a car) is losing twice.

43. Your main home isn’t an investment. You shouldn’t plan on both living in your house forever and selling it for profit. The logic doesn’t work.

44. Pay cash for cars, if you can. Paying interest on a car is a losing move.

45. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, consider the 70% rule to sort out worthy properties.

46. If you’re buying a rental property, the 1% rule easily evaluates if you’ll get a positive cash flow.

Spending & Debt

Do you spend money? (“What kind of question is that?”) Then these personal finance rules of thumb will apply to you.

47. Pay off your credit card every month.

48. In debt? Use psychology to help yourself. Consider the debt snowball or debt avalanche.

49. When making a purchase, consider cost-per-use.

50. Make your spending tangible with a ‘cash diet.’

51. Never pay full price. Shop around and do your research to get the best deals. You can earn cash back when you shop online, score a discount with a coupon code, or a voucher for free shipping.

52. Buying experiences makes you happier than buying things.

53. Shop by yourself. Peer pressure increases spending.

54. Shop with a list, and stick to it. Stores are designed to pull you into purchases you weren’t expecting.

55. Spend on the person you are, not the person you want to be. I love cooking, but I can’t justify $1000 of professional-grade kitchenware.

56. The bigger the purchase, the more time it deserves. Organic vs. normal peanut butter? Don’t spend 10 minutes thinking about it. $100K on a timeshare? Don’t pull the trigger when you’re three margaritas deep.

57. Use less than 30% of your available credit. Credit usage plays a major role in your credit score. Consistently maxing out your credit hurts your credit score. Aim to keep your usage low (paying off every month, preferably).

58. Unexpected windfall? Use 5% or less to treat yourself, but use the rest wisely (e.g. invest for later).

59. Aim to keep your student loans less than one year’s salary in your field.

The Mental Side of Personal Finance

At the end of the day, you are what you do. Psychology and behavior play an essential role in personal finance. That’s why these behavioral rules of thumb are vital.

60. Consider peace of mind. Paying off your mortgage isn’t always the optimum use of extra money. But the peace of mind that comes with eliminating debt—it’s huge.

61. Small habits build up to big impacts. It feels like a baby step now, but give yourself time.

62. Give your brain some time. Humans might rule the animal kingdom, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t impulsive. Give your brain some time to think before making big financial decisions.

63. The 30 Day Rule. Wait 30 days before you make a purchase of a “want” above a certain dollar amount. If you still want it after waiting and you can afford it, then buy it.  

64. Pay yourself first. Put money away (into savings or investment accounts) before you ever have a chance to spend it.

65. As a family, don’t fall into the two-income trap. If you can, try to support your lifestyle off of only one income. Should one spouse lose their job, the family finances will still be stable.

66. Every dollar counts. Money is fungible. There are plenty of ways to supplement your income stream.

67. Savor what you have before buying new stuff. Consider the fulfillment curve.

68. Negotiating your salary can be one of the most important financial moves you make. Increasing your income might be more important than anything else on this list.

69. Direct deposit is the nudge you need. If you don’t see your paycheck, you’re less likely to spend it.

70. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. Instead, use comparisons to set goals. (net worth).

71. Learning is earning. Education is 5x more impactful to work-life earnings than other demographics.

72. If you wouldn’t pay in cash, then don’t pay in credit. Swiping a credit card feels so easy compared to handing over a stack of cash. Don’t let your brain fool itself.

73. Envision a leaky bucket. Water leaking from the bottom is just as consequential as water entering the top. We often ignore financial leaks (e.g. fees), since they’re not as glamorous—but we shouldn’t.

74. Forget the Joneses. Use comparisons to motivate healthier habits, not useless spending.

75. Talk about money! I know it’s sometimes frowned upon (like politics or religion), but you can learn a ton from talking to your peers about money. Unsure where to start? You can talk to me!

The Last Personal Finance Rule of Thumb

Last but not least, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Boom! Got ’em again! Ben Franklin streaks in for another meta appearance. Thanks Ben!

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Source: bestinterest.blog