Is It Really Smart to Join Finances with Your Partner?
Or will it ruin your relationship?
You take turns filling up the fridge and joined forces to redecorate the living room. But when it comes to your finances, do you stand alone or united? Here, the pros and cons of combining bank accounts.
The Case for Joining Up
You’ll get to see your financial landscape in full. Combining bank accounts gives you a clearer view of your overall income and total savings--particularly useful if you’re gearing up to make a big purchase, say a new car or house. Bonus: You might think twice before splurging on heels you can’t walk in.
You’ll make better investments. It’s simple math: The more you can invest, the more you can diversify, the more likely you are to earn a higher return on your investment.
It levels the playing field. One study showed that people who joined financial forces were more likely to see their partners as contributors to the relationship. What’s more, money won’t be something to use as emotional leverage. You both get an equal say in all decisions, because all funds belong to everyone.
The Case for Going Solo
You just moved in together. No need to jump the gun. Instead, take a cue from this Norwegian study and start off with “cohabitation money,” a system that keeps your dollars separate but encourages you to exchange goods in a market-like relationship. (You stock the fridge; he pays for utilities.)
You’re part of a “modern family.” Maybe you (or your partner) have a child from a previous relationship, or perhaps you’re a caretaker for a family member. In that case, separate accounts can take care of those responsibilities without adding budgeting complexities.
You have guilt. More than 30 percent of those who combine finances have been sneaky about money, according to a recent poll. If you find yourself having to tell a little white lie about that little black dress, maybe it’s a sign that you shouldn’t be putting yourself in that position to begin with. Keep it separate and keep the guilt at bay.
Have your cake and eat it too. Good news! The issue doesn’t have to be black-and-white. Go middle of the road by setting up a joint account for your major expenses and keeping a portion of your savings all for yourself. Because sometimes a girl needs to buy heels she can’t walk in, dammit.