Talking about money can be awkward in any relationship, and can often involve a lot more than deciding who’s covering the restaurant bill. One big decision for couples can be whether and how to combine their finances.
How to approach combining finances
Combining finances with your other half can be a difficult task but, if approached in the right way, doesn’t need to be stressful or overwhelming.
Communicate and be open
Bringing your financial health out into the open – whether this is savings, debts, income, or expenses – is a great place to start. Although being open and honest about your finances is sometimes easier said than done, it can play a crucial role in building and maintaining a healthy relationship.
Establish a budget
Creating a realistic budget will help you manage your finances more effectively. The budget you set out should include everything from fixed expenses, such as rent and bills, to joint expenditure, such as holidays and nights out. We all want to maintain a little freedom, however, so it’s important to also allocate individual spending allowances or money that you can spend without having to inform your partner.
Set out your financial goals
What do you want to achieve in the future? Whether it’s retiring at 60 or paying off your mortgage within 10 years, setting financial goals together could not only make these easier to achieve, but could also help you talk about money more openly and honestly.
Ways of combining finances
When it comes to combining finances, there is no right or wrong way – how you choose to do it should be based on what works best for your and your partner’s financial situation. You may already have a method of managing money that works for you, but if you feel another system could be a better fit, below are four options for you to consider.
What’s mine is yours
As the title suggests, this approach involves combining all accounts, and both you and your partner have an equal say in how you manage your finances. While this option displays trust, it also requires you to be completely honest about how you feel money should be spent and saved.
This method involves you and your partner keeping your finances separate, except for one joint account. You both contribute an equal amount to this, and pay your communal expenses from it.
Dependent on income
This approach is very similar to the one above, except that, rather than contributing an equal amount, you pay in a proportion of your salary to the joint account instead. For example, you agree to each contribute 40% of your take home pay to cover joint expenses.
Each to their own
If you want to maintain complete independence over your finances, this is probably the option for you. When deciding to keep finances separate, it may be worth discussing who will be covering certain expenses – for example, you may be in charge of paying rent, while your partner covers food shopping, bills and vehicle maintenance costs.
In any relationship, being on the same page about finances is vital. It’s important, however, to remember to take your time and only do what you feel comfortable with when it comes to combining finances.