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How To Avoid Money Fights

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t look forward to talking about finances with your partner. Here’s one piece of advice you can start using today.

Articles by Nick Holeman, CFP®
By Nick Holeman, CFP® Head of Financial Planning, Betterment Published Feb. 12, 2020
Published Feb. 12, 2020
5 min read

Couples in healthy marriages are twice as likely to discuss money dreams together. But, discussing money can be difficult, which is why so many couples avoid it entirely.

How can you start to have productive, healthy conversations with your significant other?

Answer: a monthly financial check-in. 

Below are tips on how to do it right, and why it works.

What’s a monthly financial check-in?

A monthly financial check-in is time set aside for you and your partner to talk openly about any financial topics you want. It’s an opportunity to look back on the previous month and to plan ahead for the next month.

There are no strict rules on what you can and can’t discuss, as long as it’s money-related.

Some common examples might be:

  • Upcoming large expenses: Coachella, friends coming to town, or a wedding.
  • Financial goals: Buying a home, saving for college, or retirement.
  • Important tasks: Updating your W-4, opening a new credit card, or combining your finances in a joint high-yield cash account.
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Why monthly check-ins work so well.

The key is balance. You want to talk about money, but it’s not healthy to have it creep into every conversation.

A recurring monthly check-in solves both these problems.

Some people don’t like talking about finances at all. A monthly check-in gives you a safe space to start the conversation.

Other people think and talk about money all the time, which can be draining on a partner. Unless the matter is urgent, you can make a note and wait to bring it up until the next monthly check-in.

3 Tips To Make Them Effective

  1. Choose a fun location: Try a new coffee shop or head to your favorite sandwich spot. Finance isn’t always fun, so tying your monthly check-in to something exciting can help.
  2. Set a time limit: Don’t let your monthly check-ins drag on for too long. Talking money can be mentally draining, so try limiting your check-ins between 30 and 60 minutes.
  3. Avoid placing blame: For example, if your partner went over budget last month, don’t berate them. Instead, discuss how you can plan better next month.

Being smart with money is hard enough on its own. Don’t make it harder by adding relationship stress to the mix.

If one of your next financial discussions involves which joint account you should park your short-term cash at, consider opening a  joint Cash Reserve account.

Start saving for your future together with a high-yield cash account that features a variable rate up to *, no monthly transaction limits, and FDIC insurance up to $2 million once deposited at our program banks†. It doesn’t get better than this.

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Cash Reserve

*The annual percentage yield (“APY”) on the deposit balances in Betterment Cash Reserve (“Cash Reserve”) is and represents the weighted average of the APY on deposit balances at the banks participating in Cash Reserve (the “Program Banks”) and is current as of . This APY is variable and subject to change daily. Deposit balances are not allocated equally among the participating Program Banks. A minimum deposit of $10 is required, but there is no minimum balance required to be maintained. The APY available to a customer may be lower if that customer designates a bank or banks as ineligible to receive deposits. APY applies only to Cash Reserve and does not apply to checking accounts held through Checking. Cash Reserve and Checking are separate offerings and are not linked accounts.

See Betterment’s Form ADV Part II and Terms and Conditions for additional information, including details of the deposit allocation methodology.

†Betterment Cash Reserve (“Cash Reserve”) is offered by Betterment LLC. Clients of Betterment LLC participate in Cash Reserve through their brokerage account held at Betterment Securities. Neither Betterment LLC nor any of its affiliates is a bank. Through Cash Reserve, clients’ funds are deposited into one or more banks (“Program Banks“) where the funds earn a variable interest rate and are eligible for FDIC insurance. Cash Reserve provides Betterment clients with the opportunity to earn interest on cash intended to purchase securities through Betterment LLC and Betterment Securities. Cash Reserve should not be viewed as a long-term investment option.

Funds held in your brokerage accounts are not FDIC‐insured but are protected by SIPC. Funds in transit to or from Program Banks are generally not FDIC‐insured but are protected by SIPC, except when those funds are held in a sweep account following a deposit or prior to a withdrawal, at which time funds are eligible for FDIC insurance but are not protected by SIPC. See Betterment Client Agreements for further details. Funds deposited into Cash Reserve are eligible for up to $1,000,000.00 (or $2,000,000.00 for joint accounts) of FDIC insurance once the funds reach one or more Program Banks (up to $250,000 for each insurable capacity—e.g., individual or joint—at up to four Program Banks). Even if there are more than four Program Banks, clients will not necessarily have deposits allocated in a manner that will provide FDIC insurance above $1,000,000.00 (or $2,000,000.00 for joint accounts). The FDIC calculates the insurance limits based on all accounts held in the same insurable capacity at a bank, not just cash in Cash Reserve. If clients elect to exclude one or more Program Banks from receiving deposits the amount of FDIC insurance available through Cash Reserve may be lower. Clients are responsible for monitoring their total assets at each Program Bank, including existing deposits held at Program Banks outside of Cash Reserve, to ensure FDIC insurance limits are not exceeded, which could result in some funds being uninsured. For more information on FDIC insurance please visit www.FDIC.gov. Deposits held in Program Banks are not protected by SIPC. For more information see the full terms and conditions and Betterment LLC’s Form ADV Part II.


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