Whether you just got married or you’re living together, the topic of finances is a big subject to discuss. There’s also a big chance that everything between the two of you is not exactly equal. Someone probably has less or more debt, has a higher salary, likes to save, and the list is endless.
It is often thought that when couples are together for the long-term, that they combine everything. However, joint bank accounts and the other methods all have their positives and negatives, so couples should think about the pros and cons of all of their possible options before making such a large decision.
There is no one right way. Different things work for different people. Maybe you want to keep all of your money separate and divide everything completely in half in hopes to avoid any potential conflict? I wish it were that easy.
Here are three ways on how you can possibly separate/combine your finances:
Obviously, this is where everything is combined and nothing is separate. Merging all accounts makes everything easier as there are fewer accounts to keep track of. Having joint accounts can make everything much easier, especially if one person makes substantially less. Having joint accounts allows each person in the relationship to have access to the couple’s money when they need it.
A negative is that if something does happen in the relationship, you might not be financially safe as if everything were separate. If the couple separates, the money in a joint account can be extremely hard to separate.
Ways to make joint everything work: To have everything joint, you need to ensure that there are regular money talks (try to have weekly or monthly money meetings). If there’s ever a purchase to be made (such as anything over $100 or some other set amount), then this purchase is talked about.
Some Separate and Some Joint Accounts
This is where some accounts are separate and some are joint. Some couples like the have joint checking accounts where there income is sent to (so that bills are paid for and everything is divided fairly), and then the retirement and savings accounts are separate. This way each person in the relationship can spend money the way that they choose to do so.
This method works well if one is a spendy spender and the other saves like crazy for things that they truly want. Or maybe someone in the relationship would rather pay off their debts themselves instead of having the other have to bear the burden of their own debts.
Having some joint and some separate accounts provides the benefits of what the joint account method brings but also the independence of finances being somewhat divided. Ways to make the combination method work: Have set allowances that come out of the joint accounts every so often. This way, each person can spend their money the way that they want to.
This is where everything is separate. Expenses are most likely split right down the middle or each person has designated expenses each month. Just because things are separate does not mean that there is always trust lacking. This is the best way to keep everything safe just in case anything does happen.
Ways to make the separate everything work: Have weekly or monthly money talks so that everyone is kind of on the same page. You don’t want one person feeling left out or sour because they make less money, yet they still have an equal amount of bills to pay or something else.
There are more things to consider for married couples
Combining finances as a married couple
This financial union I speak of, has worked wonders for my parents. They are my living proof that it can work, with just a little effort and compromise of course. That being said, it has been installed in me, the marriage of finances and that it can work. With finances married, you are no longer the “lone wolf”, but rather a “wolf-pack of two”.
1. Your buying power is stronger as two.
2. More options = better opportunities
3. Effectively plan a future “together”
4. There is a stronger bond and sense of responsibility.
5. More control. You both get to see what comes in, goes out and can work on finances together through time.
Separating finances as a married couple
In today’s 21st century, some option to keep their finances separate. And sure, there are some positives to that side as well, some of which I will not get into, because after all, this post is about the marriage of money. Either way, I mentioned earlier in this post, that to me it’s about core values I’ve been raised with and one of the biggest core values passed down to me, is that in a marriage finances are joint.
Recently I had a conversation with a colleague about marriage and finances. He shared his situation and how they make it work, by having separate finances. Here is what my co-worker had to say:
Joe: “Yeah, we live together, obviously we are not married as you know and even if we were to be married, our finances would be kept separate. We only pool our money together to pay for the roof and groceries. All other earnings I keep in my pocket, she keeps in her pocket.”
Me: “I can’t do it. I don’t know how to. Plus, what would I use the extra money after all the bills are paid towards? On my self? My life? Isn’t marriage and living common law a commitment to one another and work together as a team?”
Joe: “My friend, those days are long gone. The days when my parents and your parents got married, those stay married forever. Today, you have to protect your self”
Me: “So in essence, it’s every man for them self! Than, what’s the point of you living with her. Everyday is survival. There is nothing you work towards. Even the vacations you guys take together, you each pay for your own.”
Obviously as you can see from the above conversation, where things were going. Despite the fact that my co-worker had good intentions for me, understood me, he kept his finances separate. This is where though we differed. He knew at the core, sharing finances was a better and more powerful option, but he he did it this way in order to make his situation work. To each his own, I suppose, but it wouldn’t fly with me. There is no point, living this temporary life of sleeping in one bed together, sharing the same food, but not sharing finances. It’s just money people. It comes and goes. Honestly, if you can’t be honest with your partner and co-exist as a team, there is no sense in you being married to them.