Nothing brings more problems to a relationship than financial woes. Make sure you discuss finance matters with your partner before things get out of hand and, of course, visit a financial investment consultant when you can.

Contrary to the popular belief that once you enter into a committed relationship or get married you should share everything, money is one area of your relationship where yours, mine, and ours should always be observed. 

Sure it is great to combine your income. But here are a few reasons to keep the accounts separate.

Ours! As a couple, it's imperative to establish a joint household account. This is where you each pay a portion of what the calculated household expenses are estimated to be. These expenses should include: rent/mortgage, electric/heat, house phone, food, and anything else that's a monthly household expense, such as a credit card debt you made together. Remember that bed set you just had to have and are enjoying immensely.

For couples where one partner earns significantly more than the other, a suitable division of expenses should be agreed upon and each individual deposit their respective share. Designate a day to sit down together and pay the bills for the month. 

This is a good time to discuss any needs which have arisen or make adjustments to your established monthly budget. Though one person may be in charge of paying the bills, it's still a good idea to discuss your couple's financial health on a monthly/quarterly basis. Be realistic and fair and you'll be rewarded with more hugs and kisses.

Yours--Mine! Having a checking account of your own (especially for women) allows you to feel independent and purchase that gift for your partner without having to ask for the money and spoil the surprise. Despite being a couple, you still need to establish your own credit. 

In couples where there is a stay-at-home mom or dad, that individual should still establish a bank account and credit of their own. Realistically speaking, in the event of a break-up or divorce or heaven forbid death, having everything under your partner's name may cause significant problems. Dare I mentioned the pre-nuptial agreement every couple should have—especially women?

So now that you have your finances straightened out, let’s talk about that yearly vacation you want to save up for. Most couples try to repair their relationship by going on a yearly, week-long vacation. 

You’d be better off romantically if you took smaller weekend trips once a month, or had a mini-vacation every two to three months. It actually costs less and you’ll spark those flames of love for each other, cashing in on all those wonderful dividends.

Dr. Charley Ferrer is a world-renowned Clinical Sexologist and the only Latina Doctor of Human Sexuality in the United States. She is the award winning author of The Latina Kama Sutra, The W.I.S.E. Journal for the Sensual Woman, and The Passionate Latina: In our own words. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Pleasure whose primary mission is to provide education on relationships, mental health services to women and men, and conduct research on sexuality. She can be reached at questions@doctorcharley.com.For more on Dr. Charley, go to www.instituteofpleasure.org.

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