Should you combine your finances or keep your finances separate?
The most important caveat in personal finance is that it is just that: personal.
It seems that by simply sharing our stories of successes and failures with money, we learn and support this growing community and are able to become less anxious about money and more interested in living a full, rich life.
If you have deeply merged finances with your partner, it could be working great and there is no reason to switch things up.
But if you have kept things separate until now and are considering merging your finances, there are a few good reasons to keep your finances separate as you become established.
Build trust first
Do you trust your partner enough to share your checking account with?
Len Penzo’s reader shared a story that left me depressed for days. You or I might not be able to contemplate taking someone else’s money and running, but it happens – a lot.
You don’t want to live your life in fear and without trust, but you also don’t want to hand over the keys to your life savings blindly either.
Your intuition about a person’s character goes a long way here. At the very least, please don’t start merging accounts when you have barely been together for a year or even two.
I trust my partner completely. But we are both brand new to being responsible and not over-spending and even earning pretty good salaries.
This is a fragile time for us and we both have to focus on getting ourselves on solid ground before we merge finances.
Define each others spending patterns
How do you spend your money?
I’ll be the first to admit I have weird spending patterns. I will go days without buying anything, then make all of my necessary and fun purchases at once.
I also like to check my account every day, if not twice a day. For now, it’s just so much easier to keep track of just my own purchases.
Even though my fiance and I have both gotten better with our spending, I know he likes to stop at convenience stores for a Gatorade or coffee every day and all of those little purchases would bother me like being poked with a toothpick.
Not a big deal, but I still prefer to bother with only my own spending for now.
I know he rarely buys clothes for himself when I might buy a shirt or two every couple of months without thinking much of it.
Set goals together
You can still work on your goals together. Instead of merging your finances, consider just one joint savings account you both contribute to.
It’s a good way to save for a house down payment, vacations, or a wedding. You can both keep track of your progress and share in the excitement of getting to pay for something without taking on any debt.
Eventually, it might make sense to share more than just one account, but do it gradually. Make sure you both understand each other and know what to expect.
I’ve heard marriage is hard, but I think it can be a lot less stressful if you’re not always fretting about money.
Readers, do you currently keep your finances separate with your significant other? Does it help with your personal finances?