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Many cohabiting couples combine their finances to simplify money matters in their home, but this is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Before you even think about pooling your money in a more concrete way, you need to consider each other’s financial habits to determine what this means to you. Considering these factors could help you decide if combining your finances is the right decision for you and your partner. Failure to take this step could put you in a situation where you need to take over each month.
Their relationship with money
Did they grow up financially well or were they brought up in a household familiar with debt? Find out what they learned about money management, spending habits, and prioritizing finances. It can influence their attitude towards money and whether they see it as a tool, a goal, or both.
Their financial history
Once someone is alone, they are usually responsible for their own finances. Take a look at your partner’s financial history like credit card accounts, tax payments (if independent), student loans, overdrafts, and other debt and payment plans. Check that against half of your joint monthly contributions and see how the finances might line up to determine if it makes sense to fully combine your finances.
Their observable financial decisions
We make financial choices every day, like going out for lunch or bringing it with you. Are you going to the movies for a movie night, or are you staying home and curling up on the sofa? Do you need that new pair of shoes you saw, or are the ones you bought last season still in good condition? Do you go to the salon every week or do you know your hair pretty well? Are you going to have a bigger house in the suburbs or are you going to have a place in town that will reduce your travel costs? Consider the financial choices they make and how that might affect how your common expenses would be covered.
Their earning power
It is important that everyone contributes their fair share, but how much it actually represents is another matter. You and your partner can’t earn the same amount of money, so paying equal amounts for the same expenses could put either of you at a financial disadvantage.
Once you have decided if you are going to combine finances, the next thing to do is figure out the best way to do it. Traditionally, many couples go for an all-inclusive method where they get a joint account and all of their earnings as a pair are pooled there. It’s commonly referred to as the “What’s Yours, Mine” approach, but times are changing and people need different ways to comfortably put their finances together. These might work for them:
Yours, mine and ours
Forbes.com recommends a number of ways for couples to combine their finances, but the best of these options might be for a couple to create a joint account in which each pays money while keeping their own separate accounts. Your personal account would be for your disposable income, personal bills, and / or savings, but you would each equally contribute enough money to the joint account to cover your combined monthly living expenses. It works best for couples who earn comparable salaries.
Make your choice
A simple way for couples to raise their money is to decide among themselves who is responsible for paying which bill. For example, one of you can pay the mortgage, but the other pays all utility, insurance, and grocery bills. This can be a good option for couples who are not earning the same amount of money.
Your fair share
NerdWallet.com Also mentions a variant of the first method, in which couples join the joint account on the basis of a percentage of their income. So if you and your spouse are not earning at similar levels then you decide on a percentage that you are each comfortable putting into the joint account. For example, your monthly take home pay might be $ 2,700 per month, while theirs is $ 6,000. You each agree to pay one-third (approximately 33%) of your take-home pay into the joint account. That means you put $ 900 in that pot every month, and they put in $ 2000. This allows you each a way to contribute equitably to your couple’s expenses without harming any of your own disproportionately.
Love and money are delicate subjects. The combination of your finances has the potential to be volatile for your relationship. But the important thing is to sit down with your partner and work with them to figure out what makes sense to you and what everyone feels comfortable doing.