Merging money requires two people to compromise, communicate, work towards a common goal and be accountable. When you think about the qualities of successful relationships, I would say these are all factors. So why are people so hesitant to combine their finances if the pros outweigh the cons?
Reasons given for keeping money apart in relationships include: lack of trust in how the other handles money, not feeling secure in the relationship, someone not wanting to let go of the control over their money or not wanting to feel restricted.
Some of those sound like reasons to question the relationship.
How to get started talking about money with your partner?
Start with safe questions. What do we value as a family? What financial goals do you have as individuals? What do you want our future to look like? In 5, 10,15 years? What makes you stress out about money? Look for similarities and turn two lists into one.
Next, you want to talk about the B word. Budget. What monthly bills do we have? What are bills that we know happen less often but within the year? I.e. car registration, car insurance, home maintenance, medical expenses and car maintenance. You can ask, “How will we be prepared to pay for those things with cash?”
Lastly, you want to talk about money rules for your relationship. When do you need to talk to each other before spending more than a certain amount? Do you need to share money that has been earned as part of a side hustle? Think about your money fears and bring up topics that will put you at ease.
Lastly, decide roles for each other. What will you do together when it comes to money and who will take the lead in other areas. For example, who will take the lead on creating the monthly budget? Who will open the accounts for the Emergency fund, Sinking Funds and Joint Checking accounts? How often will you meet to talk about money?
Bringing money together.
You have two options here.
- No individual accounts. Create all joint accounts. Each persons income will be directly deposited into one joint account. There will still be the separate accounts for those items discussed earlier, but everything will be under both names.
- Have individual accounts for personal expenses and joint accounts for bills and savings. Person’s income is deposited into their personal checking account. Decide how much each person needs to contribute based on their income. The amount agreed upon needs to not only be for the joint checking account, but the other accounts that you agree to have as well (sinking funds, emergency fund etc…). Whatever is left in the person’s individual account is for them to use at their discretion.
You are ready.
Schedule a date with your partner in a neutral environment; coffee shop, brewery, picnic at park etc… Start asking the questions. Listen to each other. Look at the pro’s and con’s and decide which option is best for your family. You are not giving anything up by combining finances. Instead you are creating a stronger bond between you and your partner. Don’t worry if you have different spending habits. Yours aren’t necessarily better than theirs. A compromise will be made and it will be good for both parties.