How to Manage Finances As a Couple

We recently shared this video on how we, Team Arbo, manage our Finances as a couple.

Sharing the transcript of the video:

Hi everyone! I’m Ginger and I’m the vlogger behind this channel. Today, I pulled in my husband to help me answer a question that I’ve always been asked: how do we handle our finances as a couple? 

Just to put things into perspective, we have been married for 12 years, we both just turned 41, and we have two young daughters, both under 10 years old. One is actually still a baby. We also both founded a tech startup business with 2 other people. We were not born rich and what we have now all came from working in the corporate world, from running a business, and also from a LOT of side hustles. We’re a middle income family trying to make everything work so that we can enjoy retirement later on.

So let’s get to it: how DO we handle our finances as a couple?

QUESTION #1: So what’s our money system?

Ginger: We have 2 joint accounts: one passbook and another with an atm card. The passbook one we use for our savings and the inconvenience of moving money out of that account is a feature. The atm card is more for our “operating expenses.” I also have 1 checking account for my business. We also have 1 “in trust account” for our eldest daughter. I have 2 non-joint accounts in Unionbank (an EON Cyber account) and an ING account. EJ also has the same with ING and Unionbank.

So moving on to our system, I guess we should share our different sources of income.

So we both have our salary from our business which individually goes to our UnionBank accounts. Then I have my earnings from blogging and from her events business. EJ also has some speaking engagements and consulting gigs that he earns from, those go to his personal account as well. For everything that we earn or spend, we log everything into a shared google sheets that we turned into a Google Form. We used to have apps where we track income and expenses, but ended up using Google forms since the pandemic started because the flexibility of a spreadsheet is just unmatched.

EJ: So when it comes to expenses, Ginger and I have assigned expense items. This setup just works for us. As for savings and investment, we have what we call sinking funds for these. A sinking fund is basically a way of setting aside a little bit of money each month for bigger expenses or balloon payments later. In our case, we use it for big expenses like our daughter’s tuition fee – it’s due twice a year so we set aside a certain amount every month so when the due date comes, we have the cash. We also do it visually, with simple boxes which we color each month so it’s encouraging and empowering to see that we’re building up funds slowly for that.

QUESTION #2: Do we fight about finances? 

EJ: I don’t recall any time when we fought about money. Not to say that we don’t worry about it though – instead what happens is that, somehow, we’ve never worried about finances at the same time. Usually one of us gets stressed and the non-stressed person tries to pacify the worried person. And then other times, that role reverses.

Ginger: We are always transparent though and we always talk to each other about our finances. We share not only our concerns or worries but we also share new things that we have discovered like investment strategies, or new ways of handling money. We’re both open to learning new things when it comes to handling our finances.

EJ: I have to say that before getting married, we did talk about money and how we both view finances. Like if Ginger starts bringing in more money than me, how will that impact our relationship? (hint: it doesn’t) Big questions like that. We made sure to talk about these things as part of this pre-wedding Discovery Weekend that we attended. If you’re getting married – we highly recommend attending that.

QUESTION #3: What are your investments?

Ginger: As of December 2022: 70% of our investments are in mutual funds and VULs (Variable universal life insurance), 14.70% are in Stocks, and 6.30% are in Cryptocurrencies and NFTs. We set aside money for investment after we‘ve placed money into our sinking funds.

QUESTION #4: Advice that you can give other couples?

EJ: You should be aligned on how you both view money. What is money to you? How important is it to your relationship? When you’re all out, are you willing to get from family? How do you both think about that? Big questions like that. If there are any other couples out there what other big money question should you both answer? Share those questions in the comments!

On a more regular basis, Ginger and I also have family planning sessions every year to align what our financial priorities are for the year. That way, we’re on the same page on our goals and if there are any new realizations, we also share them with each other so we help each other get better as well when it comes to handling money.

Ginger: Know your partner intimately when it comes to handling money. As you’ve noticed, we are in sync when it comes to planning but we both maintain our own separate accounts. We found that this kind of system works for us since we both know that each one is responsible when it comes to handling our own money. You have to be open to talking to your partner about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to handling money.

That’s it for today. We hope that this has helped couples who are watching this in managing their own money. We actually enjoyed recording this episode, so we hope you enjoyed watching it! We’ll be doing some more of these kinds of topics that can help couples with their journey to financial freedom.

If you would like more videos like this one, please hit like, share and click on the notification bell to be notified when we release another video like this. Feel free to let us know in the comment section what other topics you’d want us to talk about!