Being in a relationship is an incredible experience, but with the territory comes some hard conversations. One of the least enjoyable, but most important conversations, is the money talk. Debt, savings, financial goals, all of these can be awkward to discuss, especially early on in a relationship. So when Intuit Turbo challenged us to break the taboo about money conversations by going on Facebook Live to share how we handle finances as a couple, we were a little hesitant. You’re always taught as a child that it’s rude to talk about money in public. But that mentality just increases the shame and stigma surrounding financial health. It leaves most of us with questions about whether we’re making the right money moves or if we’re potentially putting ourselves in a worse financial situation. Opening up the conversation allows us to gain some insight into how we’re really doing.
Breaking the Money Talk Stigma… LIVE!
So while we weren’t ready to post our tax returns on Facebook for all to see, we were happy to pull back the curtain a tad to help reduce the stigma of talking about money openly. Before we reveal how it felt to go on Facebook live and answer questions like “how are you paying for your wedding,” we’ll give you a little background on ourselves.
Jules and I have been together since 2012. Our relationship is anything but typical. We met while volunteering in Peru and began traveling full time together. Because of this, our first “real” money talk was pretty early on in our relationship. Because we were traveling together, we had to be open and honest about our savings and spending budget. We couldn’t have one of us ready to splurge on fancy hotels and meals, while the other was down for cooking rice and beans at a hostel. Luckily in those days we were both broke budget travelers, so we were on the same page for budget!
Although we had our own savings, we were spending a lot of our money on the same accommodation, meals and travel. Instead of keeping track of who was spending what, we decided to combine a portion of our money. We marked this milestone in the most adult way possible- we bought a coin purse shaped like a duck and each put in an equal amount of money. Whenever we bought something together it came out of the duck. This made spending much easier and took the guesswork out of who owed who. Plus it was fun carrying around a bright yellow duck.
Eventually we started the blog together, which became our full time business. So not only were we traveling as a couple full time, but we were also working together full time. In a way, this made our finances easier because we opened a joint bank account and put all of our shared income in it. We each still have individual savings, but most of our bills come from our joint account. Of course, most couples don’t work together so this wouldn’t make sense for everyone. But since we both work full time on our business, we don’t stress about who is contributing more money, it’s all equal.
Now that we’re engaged it makes even more sense that our finances are combined. While we love traveling, we’re starting to plan to be more settled in the future. Eventually we’d like to own a house and start a family. Of course travel will always be a priority for us, so we’ll have to keep money aside to continue that passion.
The Facebook Live
During the Facebook Live we sat down with financial expert Farnoosh Torabi and Jamie Belsky from Intuit Turbo. We started the chat with some rapid fire questions and Farnoosh did not hold back! We found out that Jules and I both think the other is the bigger spender (him on big items, me on small impulse buys). I had to admit that I’m more likely to be late on a bill! Jules had to admit to being tempted to buy each new drone that hits the market!
Then we got into some deeper questions about how we approach our finances as a couple, how we split expenses and our strategy for tackling debt and saving for the future. We’re not gonna lie, it was a bit nerve-wracking talking about our finances in front of a live audience. Personally, I’ve always felt intimidated by finances. Even now that we’re making a good living from our blog, the idea of saving for retirement or making investments has me wanting to stick my head in the sand. Thinking about finances just makes me wish I was a kid again. Why is adulting so confusing?!
But the thing is, if we don’t talk about this important things, they’ll continue to be scary concepts that we’ll never understand. When we open up the dialogue and aren’t afraid to ask questions, that’s when we can break down these fears and start to feel more confident about our finances. About 15 minutes into the chat, Jules and I started to feel more comfortable having our money talk and, dare I say, even had fun! Having access to a financial expert like Farnoosh was such a gift (seriously, this lady knows her stuff!).
Takeways from the Live
Farnoosh gave us some great tips and advice, including how important it is to have money that is “yours,” “mine” and “ours.” At the moment Jules and I pool almost all of our money together. Separating a bit each month for our individual personal spending would be a great way to regain some financial independence and eliminate any guilt for spending “our” money. Farnoosh also expanded on the importance of knowing our household income, which can be a bit of a confusing to figure out, especially if you have multiple income streams.
That’s where Turbo’s free app on income, credit score and debt to income comes in. This app allows you to collate all your financial information (household income, credit score and your debt to income ratio) in one place. You can upload your tax returns, as well as input any extra income manually (shout out to all those side hustlers out there!). Taking these three markers of financial health into account, the app then provides you with custom advice on any improvements. It’ll also provide insight into how you’re doing financially compared to other users like you. Because who doesn’t like some healthy competition?
Check out the Facebook live below!
The biggest takeaway for us was the importance of staying on top of your finances. Talking about money can lead to a lot of different emotions. But as a couple, if we’re not open and honest about our financial status, it can become an even greater source of shame and frustration. Farnoosh advises checking your finances everyday. This may seem excessive to some, but the more you familiarize yourself with your financial status with tools like the new Turbo app, the more confident you’ll be to make those important decisions!