For Valentine’s Day, couple your finances | Personal finance

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Chanelle Besette

When Alli Williams married her husband in 2019, she knew she would marry with around $150,000 in student loan debt.

Now, a few years later, she and her husband are on the same financial page with their budgets and bank accounts, and they’ve paid off not just her student loans, but their credit cards and their truck as well. Williams had become debt-free individually when she was 25, and now, at 30, the couple are debt-free together.

“Paying off the debt isn’t the hardest part,” Williams says. “Managing your money is the hardest part.”

Williams, a South Carolina-based financial coach and owner of FinanciALLI Focused, says when she and her husband got engaged in 2018, it was the first time they had created a combined budget. They’re keeping expenses low and taking advantage of living in a low-cost area, and they’ve been strategic in using windfall earnings percentages to pay down debt and save. But the real key, she says? Frequent communication and checks regarding money.

Money can be a very personal and – at times – stressful part of a romantic partnership. Managing debts, bank accounts, credit cards and bills is not only a logistical challenge, it is also a new source of potential conflict. If half of a couple likes to save money while the other person is a compulsive spender, that pair will likely need to have difficult conversations to avoid long-term resentment. For these conversations, there are professionals who can provide advice and information.

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