Separate Finances, Money Dates & Tori Dunlap's Best Money Advice for Couples

Money can often feel stressful. It’s stigmatizing and high-pressure, you could pretty much always use a little more than you got and you can’t always agree on the best way to use what you do have. It makes sense that it’s something couple’s tend to fight about more often than not.

But it doesn’t have to be the most stressful thing in the world. Money can, in fact, be something that frees you from toxicity (who doesn’t appreciate the genius of the “get-out” fund?) at worst and at best can be a testament to the collaboration and shared goals in your partnership.

Tori Dunlap, financial expert, investor and founder of Her First $100k, caught up with SheKnows just a few days before the release of her new book Financial Feminist to talk about just that: Money problems and how to even begin to address them (solo and in a partnership).

Dunlap isn’t shy talking about money — in her book or IRL — because she’s found a way to thoroughly reframe personal finances for all kinds of people from this hyper-stigmatized, guilt- and anxiety-inducing thing to something that can give them power, flexibility, independence and a means to really choose the kind of life they want for themselves and their families.

But that said, she maintains that your personal finances are just that personal. In fact, she says that if you were to take a shot each time she says that phrase (“personal finances are personal”) in the book, “you’d be on the floor by chapter three.”

“I truly do believe that everybody’s situation is different and that there is no one-size-fits-all thing to money,” Dunlap says. “There are for me a couple of hard and fast rules: So one is you need to save an emergency fund before anything else. Actually, before you pay off any debt, you need an emergency fund. One of my other hard and fast rules is that people in a partnership should always maintain a little bit of money, that’s theirs. You should never completely combine finances.”

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