4 Financial Tips Every Same-Sex Couple Should Know – A Leading Financial Advisor Shares Her Advice



Finances can be a sticking point in relationships if not managed properly. A recent study showed 73% of affluent, unmarried same-sex couples agree getting married isn’t just a question of love and commitment — it’s a big financial decision.1 Yet only 35% fully understand what the financial benefits actually are — or the potential drawbacks.1

These findings certainly resonated with me. I’ve had lesbian couples who are thinking about marriage come into my office to ask whether getting married is the right financial decision for them. In my 25 years as a financial advisor, I’ve never had an opposite-sex couple ask me that question.

In the spirit of celebrating and strengthening lesbian couples’ relationships, here are four ways to help ensure long-lasting monetary matrimony with your partner:

1. Tackle the tough conversations about finances up front

Often, you can get many years into a relationship thinking you’re on the same page with your partner about finances, only to discover you’re not when a problem arises (e.g., your partner amasses thousands of dollars in credit card debt, whereas you are uncomfortable with debt and pay off your credit card each month). That’s why it’s important to have a conversation about finances to understand each other’s attitudes around money and to find a path that’s right for the both of you as a couple. Here are a few questions to kick off a conversation:

    • What are your respective views on how much money is enough? What size nest egg do you want and need? What are your views on/need for investments if, for example, you are relying on two incomes or have a significant mortgage you’re both contributing to? 
    • How will you make decisions about taking on future indebtedness as a couple? If you are going to manage all your assets and liabilities jointly, an agreed upon framework for making these decisions is essential.   
    • What are your respective hoped-for career plans? What are your thoughts regarding continuing to work if you have children? Are you going back to school or being able to take a hiatus from work important goals? What about how long each of you hopes to work – is early retirement an important goal? Same-sex couples need to pay particular attention to the legal aspects of parenting. That is, who qualifies as the birth parent or legal parent? A family attorney can help you work through these issues.


2.  Set financial goals and parameters

Do you and your partner want to save to buy a house in two years, or would you rather spend your money on travel? Set some short- and long-term goals about how you want to use your money, and build a budget and plan to meet those goals. Track how much you’re spending as a couple and set parameters to help you save and plan for emergencies.

3.  Take advantage of convenient savings tools

 In today’s digital world, banks and other financial services providers offer a range of tools to help customers manage their finances – get to know these offerings and use them to help manage your finances as a couple. Wells Fargo, for example, has a predictive banking feature within its mobile app that analyzes a customer’s transactions, payments and other relevant data to generate intelligent guidance and help improve financial health. By using a customer’s historical transaction activity, the app can alert them that their available balance may not cover upcoming anticipated activity on their account and then provide an option to transfer funds from savings and help them avoid a negative outcome.

4.  Keep your credit scores in check

Unfortunately, your partner’s bad credit score can impact your financial opportunities as a couple. It’s important to keep an eye on and immediately remediate any issues with you or your partner’s credit score. Many financial institutions offer customers free access to their FICO® Credit Score within their mobile app, so you and your significant other can regularly and conveniently keep track of your credit health.

Bottom line – don’t wait until finances cause a rift in your relationship, set aside some time now to make sure your relationship is in good financial health for 2018 and beyond.

– By guest blogger Margie Archer, CRPS®ADPA®, First Vice President – Investment Officer, Wells Fargo Advisors  

1 “The Changing Landscape of Marriage and Money for Affluent LGBT Americans, 2015 National Survey,” June 2015, conducted by Wells Fargo.

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