Probably the most controversial feature of these apps is that most, though not all, require access to your bank, credit, and investment accounts so they can pull the information they need to track your spending. In some cases, you can enter the information yourself, which makes sense especially if you make a lot of purchases in cash, instead of with credit or debit, which is entered automatically.
Setting financial goals, developing a money management strategy, and following through on your spending decisions require a joint effort. But that doesn’t have to be true about tracking your expenses. When you’re dividing up your household chores, you might agree that one of you should take primary responsibility for monitoring spending in your joint account, paying the bills that are due, and confirming the balance is always positive.
If it turns out that one of you, or both of you, are not following the spending plan you agreed on, what’s next? Chances are it means you’re spending more than you had intended to on certain types of expenses or were unrealistic about what specific things would cost.
The best first step is to rethink the amounts you’ve allocated to various categories. For example, if transportation costs are higher than you planned, and there’s no feasible way to reduce them, can you agree to cut back what you’re spending on something else? Fixed expenses are the most difficult to adjust. For example, probably the only way to reduce your rent is to move, and that involves costs of its own. But other costs that are variable, like food and entertainment, are fair game.
Worst-case scenario is that one of you is overspending and unwilling or unable to change. It’s a problem you’ll have to face as a couple if there’s any hope of your having a healthy financial relationship and future.
You’ve been warned repeatedly never to share your account passwords, but that rule doesn’t apply with your partner.
Each of you must have access to your joint online bank and investment accounts, digital spending trackers, and any other financial apps you and your partner use in managing your money. That doesn’t mean you’re giving up your privacy. But it is one place where there can’t be any secrets.
If you’re looking for an electronic password keeper, Ascendo’s DataVault Password Manager is a good choice because it allows you to keep passwords and other important data securely on a computer or mobile device without having the information uploaded to the cloud.