The BF and I always joke around that our relationship is a business. BF is quite the entrepreneurial spirit and I have my B.S. in business so we are both business-oriented and very dorky when we start talking. We always talk business whether it's politics, finances, the economy, the housing market, religious views, friends, family, school...you name it, we somehow manage to relate it to the business world.
Our relationship is totally a business.
We take on positions. I let the BF take the CEO/President title because, well...he's a man and that's his dream in life! He likes to refer to me as the VP/CFO but I'm also in charge of Marketing/Legal. I'm the reader/writer/attention to detail type of person and he is very goal-oriented and creative so it's good to know our strengths and what we bring to the table.
We have to keep it profitable. We're always thinking of new ways to make more money, or to reduce debt faster. BF is getting his MBA and I am aiming for law school so we are hoping to increase our earnings potential. Keeping each other in check with spending and saving is also big in our relationship. We save money for a better future, heck we don't want to go bankrupt!
We have meetings. We have monthly meetings on the first Friday of the month to discuss our finances and we keep spreadsheets, lists, bulletin boards, white boards and post-its all over the place. It really helps to get together and voice concerns or even just to check in with each other finance-wise because it also opens up the floor to discuss anything else that may be on your minds. Funny story - I called an emergency meeting at midnight on a Saturday night a few weeks ago to talk about BF's side business, it was hilarious but he acquiesced and we had tons of fun talking for hours!
We keep records. A successful business keeps records and self audits. It's not fun but when the time comes to gather up all those documents, it's good to know where everything is. Also if something happens to one person, everything is accessible and the other is not in the dark. Besides tax forms, pay stubs, bank records and the like, create spreadsheets and notes to stay organized together with finances and goals.
We choose risks we want to take. We talk about our investing styles and we make sure to diversify our investments. 401ks, roth IRAs, stocks, bonds... you name it, we probably have it. The most important thing is to talk about it together and make sure you are on the same page. You don't have to have similar investing styles but it's always good to know what the other's is like.
We track our money. I'm sure all of you do this for yourselves but once you agree to make purchases together, combine finances, live together or anything similar you will find yourselves needing to track your combined transactions, whether it's with Mint.com or a spreadsheet or just a verbal check-in. We don't micro-manage each others' spending and we also haven't fully combined accounts yet, but I do know what he spends his money on and he knows what I spend mine on.
We look at the competition. I'm sure everyone is guilty of it but who doesn't compare themselves to others? You shouldn't and you are told not to, but you do it anyway right? We are so guilty of this! We like to compare ourselves to other couples such as our parents (and friends). It helps us figure out how they got it right and what decisions we should make in our lives. It really helps to get advice from "competitors"!
Mergers are inevitable. I'm talking about family here. When you're in a relationship, you merge lifestyles, friends and family. Everyone becomes one big happy family....sometimes :)
We will expand in the future. We've talked kids and we know that we both want them in a few years. But in order to prepare for this crazy feat, we need to plan it out. We've talked about both working while raising kids but also the possibility of myself staying at home. I would love to do that but I also pride myself on my career, but expansion definitely awaits us.
Honesty is the best policy. It would really suck if we weren't open with each other because how would we be able to trust each other and grow our business? Being dishonest causes fights or it will make you feel guilty, which doesn't equate with success. I have tried hiding shoes and purses purchases before but he always notices, and he doesn't care...so I stopped that quite some time ago!
Last but not least, we have days off, a lot of them! :) Your relationship is a business but most importantly it's all about having fun and remembering that you are business partners but you are partners first and foremost.