There’s really no ideal way for couples to merge their finances together once they’ve said their “I do"s (or even before the vows have been said), however to avoid future financial communication issues it’s important to have the conversation about how you two plan to handle the household finances going forward.
There are several different ways to manage your finances as a couple, and that arrangement will be determined by several different factors including lifestyle, religion, sources of income, etc. How you, as a couple, chose to handle your finances is totally up to you, but the most important part of that decision is that you both have to be on the same page about whatever you come up with.
Image: Stephan Geyer via Flickr
Some of the types of arrangements include:
- Joint accounts - everything is managed out of an account you both have access to.
- Separate accounts – each spouse has their own account. Bills and other expenses are split down the middle.
- Joint & separate accounts - joint account for bills and separate accounts for spending.
As I mentioned, the way you as a couple manage your finances is completely up to you and there’s really no right or wrong way to do it, however when trying to decide what will work well for your household you’ll want to consider these four things:
- Personality differences – Opposites attract, right? Of course, that’s what makes relationships so unique! What many people don’t realize is that the difference (or alikeness) in your personalities is a major deciding factor when it comes to how well you may work together with your finances.
- Spending habits – Is your spouse a shopaholic while you put the ‘fru’ in frugal (extremely corny, but you get my point). It’s important to know each of your spending habits to help determine what you can and cannot put up with. If it will give you peace of mind knowing that your spouse is only spending money after all of the bills have been paid and money has been transferred to the savings; then maybe having a joint account for bills and separate accounts for spending will work well for you.
- Financial goals – This is a really important factor to consider when trying to decide how to manage your finances as a couple. You have to be on the same page about where you both want to be financially and why. Once that’s determined, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what you’re both striving to achieve and adjust your account management to fit that purpose.
- Lifestyle – Are you a busy couple or family that’s always on the go? Does either one of you travel frequently for work? Are you a military family where one spouse deploys or TDY’s often? These are just a few examples of the different types of lifestyles that can impact and help determine the best method for managing your finances as a couple.
How do you and your spouse manage your finances? Have you had to switch it up after a few trials and errors? Let me know in the comments!
The Budget Brainiac
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