Whether you’re combining your finances or keeping them separate, being on the same page and communicating often and regularly are key.

By Kelli Kiemle,  AIF®, Managing Director of Growth and Client Experience as featured in Kiplinger 

All the wonderful traits that make you compatible as a couple may not mean you are financially compatible. According to a Fidelity Investments Couples & Money Study, one in five couples identifies money as their greatest relationship challenge. However, finances don’t have to be a point of contention, even though money can be a sensitive — and personal — topic. Here are a couple of tips to smooth out these discussions and navigate the money maze as a couple.

1. Decide on a plan of action.

Some couples keep finances separate, some combine everything, and others do a combination of both. Whatever you feel most comfortable with, devise a plan that works for your relationship and stick with it, but review the plan regularly.

Whether managing separate or combined finances, it’s crucial to establish a clear plan regarding how you are dividing the expenses. I suggest addressing these questions with your partner to ensure you are on the same page. Do you split everything? Are you each responsible for specific bills? How are you working toward savings goals — together or separate? Who pays for date nights or surprises? It’s also important to discuss what happens if someone loses their job or gets a raise — will your plan stay the same or change? It’s super important to have a plan in place that is flexible enough to change over time.

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