Love, Marriage, and Money: Should a Couple Combine Their Finances?

My wife and I have been married for nearly four years, and we dated for six years before that, so it came as a surprise to some other couples this weekend that we do not combine our finances together. Instead, we each maintain responsibility for a specific set of our shared bills and our savings goals (generally, I manage savings and investments and a few bills; she handles most of the other bills). Unfortunately for us, this was not a decision we hit upon easily; it took a lot of negotiation, some uncomfortable choices and discussions, and a bit of arguing to find a balance that really worked for us.

The truth is I can’t tell you whether or not you should combine your finances with your signficant other; it has a lot to do with individual comfort levels, trust, and many other marital issues that one could write books on (and many have). However, it is a decision that all couples face, particularly if they choose to marry or agree to a long-term commitment: should we combine our finances or not?

Here are eight tips for making the decision – and the subsequent planning – as painless as possible. I wish I had done these things with my wife much earlier than we did.

Have a serious but respectful talk about your basic personal finance values and expectations. If this sounds uncomfortable, here are some tips for making financial talks with your spouse much easier.

Lay your fears on the table – and calmly listen to each other. My biggest fear was that my wife would feel more inclined to spend frivolously if we combined our money. It turned out she felt the reverse – my spending would increase, too. There was some truth to both beliefs and this was a major part of why we decided to keep our money separate.

Clearly lay out what is expected from each of you. What is each person responsible for? We found it easiest to lay most of the bill paying on my wife, and most of the saving and investing onto me – that way, when we talk about our finances, it is understood that she handles many of the monthly bills, but I handle our savings and usually figure out how to handle major purchases.

Don’t get mad if your significant other says something you don’t want to hear. If your partner expresses concern that you spend too much, there’s probably a reason for it. Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself if he or she is right, and even if not, compromise a little. This is generally good advice for any financial arrangement.

Make a list of everything you both need to cover in a given month – and make sure it is covered. This way, there’s no situationn like “who paid the cell phone bill?” You’re just making sure that nothing falls through the cracks. Don’t forget to include at least some savings on that list.

Discuss your overall goals – even make a list of them. This was a major difference between myself and my wife when we were first married. My biggest goals revolved around retirement and I was dumping huge amounts into a 403(b) so that I could retire at 59 1/2 (or even earlier) and live very nicely. My wife, on the other hand, dreams of a wonderful home in the country with an acreage, a small barn, and some woods to wander in, which is going to be expensive. Right now, we’re working towards both, and to do that we decided that we needed to trim a lot of fat from our budget to make it happen.

General investment concepts should be discussed. I discovered that I am a far more conservative investor than my wife, and as a result of our discussion, we ended up making numerous changes to our investments, balancing some risky ones (foreign small-cap stocks) with some safer ones (bonds). The volatility still makes me nervous, but the low potential growth of my investments made my wife believe we’d never get ahead.

By this point, it should be pretty clear how compatible your financial views are, and a decision on whether to combine your money should be quite clear. For us, it was clear that it worked better to keep them separate, at least for now.

Regardless of how you arrange things, you should have a discussion about your money at least monthly. This can be as simple or as detailed as you like, depending on your comfort level, but there should be at least some time set aside regularly so that each person can be as informed about your shared finances as possible.

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39 thoughts on “Love, Marriage, and Money: Should a Couple Combine Their Finances?

  1. Mike says:

    My wife and I do not combine our finances, either, although part of the reason is that I’m paying for a small amount of student loan debt that I don’t want her to be responsible for in any way. Even though we’re a team, I brought that debt into the marriage, so I’ll taking care of it.

    Month to month, we each have specific bills to cover, and it works very well for both of us. Besides, we both have complete access to all of the accounts, so for all intents and purposes, it may as well be combined.

  2. plonkee says:

    I’m intrigued by this:
    came as a surprise to some other couples this weekend that we do not combine our finances together

    I’m curious as to why this came up and as I don’t (need to) know anything about how couples combine finances I’m also interested in why other people were surprised. If you’d care to share?

  3. Jack says:

    This is an easy decision for my wife and I. I work a regular job, she stays home with the kids. I get a paycheck, she doesn’t. So no matter what gets spent, I pay for it.

  4. M says:

    Great advice, but I am surprised that you and your wife do not combine your finances. Do you earn equally? How do you handle entertainment expenses?

    I would think that it would become a burden to keep track of who paid for dinner last time and who is going to pay for it next time.

    I’m wondering if you also signed a pre-nup?

  5. Trent says:

    plonkee: it just came up in conversation, and almost universally everyone else combined theirs.

    M: my wife handles all small entertainment expenses like dining out, etc. as she’s the one who enjoys that type of thing more. If it’s a big one, I handle it and save for it. We have no prenup and I make only slightly more than she does.

  6. Wil says:

    My wife and I keep separate finances as well, but one of each of our “bills” is labled household. This is a combined account that we pay most of the house stuff from. We seem to do well with “Yours, Mine and Our” accounts.

    There are some times when I just don’t want her knowing how much I’m spending (especially if I’m spending on her), and I’m sure she feels the same.

  7. keith says:

    Hmmm… Well I think this is quite sad. What really is money? First it is a representation of service to your fellow man. You provide a service, or product or whatever and you are rewarded with a token or ‘bill’ that show you provided something that benefited your fellow humans. Money also is a tool or representation of power and control -the more money you have, the more power and control you have over time, environments, circumstances and people. So when two people make a commitment to become one and and they do not join that pool of tools and representation but create walls that keep them separate, what kind of commitment and trust is really there? Trust, commitment, sacrifice and surrender are essential keys to a healthy marriage and when one or both spouses lacks the trust to combine that pool…that’s not a good sign or a healthy road to be traveling down in the road to a unified marital vision. I am not trying to demean or insult you and your marriage I just believe that the road you and your wife have taken here is not the healthiest. Ask your self -do you really feel good about this,or do you sense there is something not quite right with it? I do not mean to offend, just providing another viewpoint…

  8. keith says:

    Oops…One more thing. The biggest enemy to a marriage is the word ‘mine’. The biggest friend is the word ‘ours’.

  9. Trent says:

    Keith: this is exactly why couples should solve these problems for themselves. You’re doing the same thing that others have done – imposing what you think is right on our marriage.

    People, sit down with your spouse and figure out what works best in your marriage. As you can see from this thread, there are people with a variety of viewpoints on the issue. Find out what works for you guys, but above all, be open and honest about it with each other.

  10. Dave says:

    For us, all money is “our” money. But among our friends they range the entire gambit of completely separate monies to his, hers, and ours as well just ours.

    What’s interesting is the couple where both parties have been married before were the ones that did the his, hers, and ours method. And in talking to them, the only reason was so when they bought present the other person wouldn’t know.

    *shrug* The reason I don’t care is while we both know the values overall going onto cards or whatever, only unless there is a problem do the detail numbers come out. But that’s because we both keep an eye on all amounts.

    At the same time, I wonder how the different methodologies fall along salary equality lines. We make the same, and go all into 1 pot.

  11. Dave says:

    Trent :

    I don’t think Keith was meaning insult, truly. The people often espouse what they believe, and that’s what has worked for him. I get what he is trying to say, but I think language is abit … skewed. What is the difference in having 1 pot with 2 different people w/ responsibilities or 2 pots and same said different responsibilities. Because of the way my wife and I do things, we could end up paying a bill twice if we didn’t communicate better. So we divide and conquer what’s required while pulling from the same pot.

    Heck for our us, we both had the opposite fear/concern than you and your wife. For myself, I’m a tightwad. Never really splurge except on eating or my wife. The ironic thing is she is the same. Unless it’s on sale and she has a coupon, she won’t go clothes shopping. Just Friday she reduced a clothing bill from 200 to 70.

    Oh yeah forgot to mention. Mike, I think since you are married the debt is automatically added to your wife as well, but that may depend on the state. Debts and Profits get joined when attached in the eyes of the Law. It doesn’t matter when they were acquired.

  12. Trent, my wife and I keep separate finances, too. Over the nearly twenty years we’ve been together, we’ve received a lot of flak for this. For some reason, this issue sparks a lot of heated debate.

    My readers have asked me to write about this, but I keep dancing around the subject, trying to decide how I want to approach it.

  13. Brett says:

    My wife and I decided to combine our money. It’s worked out great for us. However, it does make gift shopping difficult when you can see where the other has spent their money.

  14. Mitch says:

    WRT Mike, I think student loans are somewhat special cases, although I don’t know the details as far a divorce.

    I do know that when consolidating student loans one is advised never to roll two people’s debts together into the same consolidation loan because then if one person dies the other person is still on the hook for both loans, and likewise after divorce. (Normally, student loans do get excused if the borrower dies.)

  15. shawn says:

    I would basically echo what Keith said.

    As far as debt, you have no liability for your spouse’s debt (student loan or otherwise) as long as you did not sign for it. If I go and open a credit card without my wife and I die she’s not responsible for the debt. My estate is however so 1/2 of whatever we owned together would need to go towards satisfying the debt if my solely owned assets would not cover it.

  16. Mitch says:

    NOLO is often a good reference: Can I collect on a loan to someone who’s died?

  17. Though we aren’t married yet, my fiancee and I keep our finances separate and will probably continue to after marriage.

    Her parents are having a messy divorce and a lot of this could be avoided by having separate finances.

    Some say that one shouldn’t think of finances separately – they say some of the things that Keith did above about a lack of trust and commitment. I think of it in the same way as having an emergency fund. It helps us both sleep well at night.

  18. Ellen says:

    My fiancé and I are trying to decide what we want to do with finances after the wedding. We’ve been living together for a year now, though, and have a system that works very well. He makes quite a bit more than I do, and he owned his condo before I moved in. So, he handles things like mortgage, property tax out of his check, plus his own car and phone and cable, while I take care of my own car and phone and food. It shakes out to roughly proportionate to our incomes, plus we both save a lot out of each check. It’s all joint money, but we share responsibilities evenly (though not equally).

    We have very similar orientations to money, though, and we’re very open about where all of our money is and where it’s going, and I think that’s more important than how it’s organized.

  19. kellie says:

    I would agree with Ellen, being open about where your money goes is more important than how it’s organized. My fiance and I currently live together and I look at both of our accounts when paying bills. After we get married it will probably stay the same because if I want him to pay the cable bill all I would have to do is ask him to pay the cable bill. If he wants to make a big purchase, even though the money would be “technically” his – in his account- he’d still ask me about it before making the purchase and we’d make the decision together. That’s the key I think – being open about your money and what it’s being used for.

  20. Jay says:

    I’m glad somebody finally said it.

    “I can’t tell you whether or not you should combine your finances with your signficant [sic] other.”

    I get so tired of all the blogs telling couples how they should organize their finances, because that is the way they do it and therefore it must be the only way.

    You in the blogosphere, yes you! Get your judgmental nose out of everybody’s business.

    Sorry, just had to vent. :) Thanks for clearing up this matter by simply stating there’s no clear answer.

  21. TheGlutton says:

    When we married my wife and I kept separate finances with two salaries. It did not make sense for us to struggle independently….we have created a spending plan that combines our incomes that is managed by me since she cares not to do it. The plan allows for each of us to get what we want when we want it. It relys on self-control to avoid not following the plan.

  22. Ben says:

    My wife and I make the best of both worlds. We have our own accounts that our wages get paid into, a joint account which we both transfer a portion of our wages into, and our own savings accounts which we also siphon off a portion of our wages into.

    The joint account handles payment of our monthly bills and grocery shopping. We’re pretty habitual people, so we know more or less exactely how much needs to be in there each month to cover everything.

    The savings accounts are high interest affairs that we dump money into each month (my wife’s is actually an ISA so it’s tax free as well, where as mine is just a high interest savings account for convenience). We typically use these as and when we need a large amount of money in one go – tax bills, home improvements etc. Usually it’s for communal stuff that we both benefit from but really it’s just for whenever we need a large amount of money for something important (ie, nothing frivolous).

    Our own accounts are pretty much just that. We use them for paying our individual bills (such as our cell phones), buying clothes and just general luxury purchases.

    This way we are both comfortable that we are contributing equally in terms of finance, neither of us feels like we’re forking out for everything and neither of us feels guilty for not contributing enough. Our finances are easy to keep track off because all the bills get paid out of a single account and we both have our own stash of money so we don’t need to feel guilty about blowing a couple of hundred quid on a new pair of jeans now and then.

  23. Crankywench says:

    Ben, my husband and I do the same. We each put half of our salary into an “ours” account, and pay household bills from there. It has worked out fantastically for us both. If something comes up where either of us personally needs a bit more, we give money to each other from our personal accounts, while allowing the “ours” account to accrue savings and collect interest.

    Keith, trust and commitment takes many forms. For you, trust may mean putting all your tools together, and it’s good that you know that for yourself. For my relationship, I know what we’ve done will work out best for us. Successful relationships are made by communication and agreed upon goals by the parties involved, and not necessarily on outside ideals.

  24. Karen Porter says:

    We too keep separate finances such as separate checking accounts (though technically the accounts are linked through online banking) and divide up certain bills. I handle the actual payment of “his” bills with his bank account since I have access to it and manage the actual payments since we started banking online. We’ve been married 9 years, together a lot more and it works for us (though yes…other people like my mother who combined her finances think it’s weird–perhaps it’s a generational thing). To each his own…it works for us quite well.

    Big purchase decisions are made together. And nobody counts nickels and dimes over who purchased the toilet paper or who paid for the last pizza. Whoever has cash or is at the store just gets these impromptu purchases.

    It did take some trial and error at first to figure out our system. It’s really a matter of working within the habits and abilities of each spouse and not forcing a system on the spouse because it’s the “traditional” thing to do.

  25. SJ says:

    We started out with a joint account where we both put equal money in (we essentially made the same amount then) when we started living together – I think that is probably the best way to learn about your money habits as a couple without the stress/trust issues of combing everything all at once. We also got one joint credit card that was paid from that account – so any “home” type purchase (groceries, etc) could just get put on that credit card, and gifts, personal splurges, would be paid from our separate accounts.

    After we were married for a bit it just started to seem silly to us, since we paid almost all our bills from the joint account anyway and neither of us has crazy splurges, nor do we buy the types of gifts for each other where a credit card statement would give it away (a purchase at Borders or Amazon, for example, does not really give the other person much of a hint – plus we’re usually not the type to buy presents far in advance, so it would be unlikely to show up on a bill before the present giving occasion)…

    So we combined everything. I take care of the organizing/bills, and we each have a primary credit card we use (it makes it easy to see where the money is going for each of us – we pay all our bills in full so interest isn’t an issue). He is more interested in individual stocks so he handles an Ameritrade account. I am more interested in index and mutual funds so I handle a Vanguard account. We each have our own retirement accounts. As I side note I now make considerably more than he does but that doesn’t bother either of us at all about combining our money.

    I think this is an intensely personal decision for each individual and each couple but I figured I’d share what worked for us – money is a big control issue for me largely because of my parents (my dad is a compulsive gambler) and thus I would never be comfortable not managing my own accounts. But my husband is happy to let me do it. If we both felt as I do, we would probably still have separate accounts.

  26. Debbie says:

    A friend of mine gave me this advice: If what you’re doing works, don’t change it just because you get married. For her, separate accounts turned out to work better!

    I’m not married or forever-committed at this point, so we have separate finances. Our basic strategy can be described this way: we each pay for what we care more about. Just because we’re together doesn’t mean we’re suddenly the same person.

    For example, we both care about housing and air conditioning, etc., so we both pay half. But the house is mine, so I pay all repair costs. He likes eating out, so he always pay when we eat out, which keeps me from stressing about how much that costs. But I sometimes take him out for a treat. I pay for our movie watching. Unless it’s an icky movie he wants me to see with him–then he pays. He likes a riskier investment style–he invests his money and I invest mine. Then if one person’s investment strategy is better, we still both benefit. We each pay for our own cars and hobbies and clothes.

    Someone brought up the issue of salary differences. For me and my guy, our relative salaries have had drastic changes. When he was unemployed and I wasn’t, I paid for everything, but his part was all a loan. (That sounds creepy, but we had just started dating, so really it was creepy the other way.) The fact that it’s a loan helps motivate the job hunting. Now he makes significantly more than I do, so he gets to spend more. Since I am not willing to do what it takes to get a higher paying job, I am more comfortable spending less without having to drag down his spending. If we ever move to a bigger (more expensive) place because he has more stuff and more space-consuming hobbies, he will pay more than half so I can pay the same amount or a little more.

    Obviously, we still discuss quite a few things though we also still have a lot of autonomy. If we do get married, I’m not sure if I’ll follow my friend’s advice and keep everything the same. Things do change with marriage, legally at least, especially since we live in a community property state.

  27. Keith says:

    Oh boy.

    Trent- You’re accusing me of ‘imposing’ what I think is right on your marriage. How am I imposing? I am voicing what I think are legitimate concerns and issues around married couples keeping their finances separate and potential unhealthy consequences that might arise from that. When you say that married couples ‘should’ have monthly discussion regarding these matters. Would you say that you are imposing there as well? I wouldn’t. I would sat you are voicing what you think is a right, healthy and beneficial practice for the health of a marriage in this area. I am simply voicing a perspective that is attempting to do the same. Again, I did not mean to offend.

    Lazymanandmoney posits the idea about the messy aspects of a divorce that could have been much less so if the divorcing couple had kept their finances separate. So what’s the goal there then? To keep the money separate so that ‘just in case’ there is a divorce it will be… ‘cleaner’? That is not exactly a perspective that fosters a healthy marital foundation is it not? Is it so hard to see how the commitments and ‘investments’ of the marriage are minimized by this mentality? (not trying to hammer you LMAM just making a point…)

    Crankywrench said ‘Successful relationships are made by communication and agreed upon goals by the parties involved, and not necessarily on outside ideals.’ Aren’t the ‘principles’ of ‘communication and agreed upon goals’ outside ideals?!

    Folks, when we get married, we ALL aspire to some outside ideal of what a healthy and successful marriage looks like. It is impossible not to do so, otherwise marriage means nothing to those undertaking it. And to achieve that healthy marriage we all attempt to utilize and adopt methods, principles, habits etc. to reach that goal. The questions I am attempting to raise are to get couples to dig a little deeper into the issues and implications beyond and behind the certain mentalities that refuse to let go of what is ‘mine’ and not consider it ‘ours’ and the potential negative effects those mentalities could or can have on a marriage.

    To those who keep their finances separate for purely pragmatic reasons and could care less if they were combined or not- I am not raising these points to you. It is to those who hold on the ‘mine’ mentality when moving into the commitment of marriage or those who think ‘well… I think it’s better… just in case…’ Or anything that lessens the depth of the commitment of marriage.

    So why would I raise these points then? Because like Jay accuses -to be judgmental and stick the nose in other people’s business? No, it’s because I care about people and marriage and I want people to succeed from the day they say ‘I do’ until death does them part. Marriages fall apart for real reasons that can be identified. I am just trying to raise points and questions surrounding these issues that I would hope people would consider in their own quest for a healthy, happy and thriving marriage.

  28. Lisa Knight says:

    I think that one way or the other it should be decided as a couple how the money is handled. The ability to openly communicate is key. The issue here is trust & how does one know not to trust unless you are involved? How do you know that your wife has a shopping addiction if she has her own accounts & can hide it? How do you know if your husband is getting hotel rooms on his lunch break if you never see his credit statement? If you aren’t openly communicating, these doubts can become serious. Trust is easy to lose but is near impossible to get back. If you are open & willing to share then there are no secrets, the second you have secrets is when you are in trouble. SO great article & comments all!!!

  29. Wil says:

    Sorry for the late reply, but there’s just not enough hours in a day…,

    Keith;

    In re-reading all the comment threads, I’m getting that you feel that they way my wife and I handle finances. I just wonder if this would have sounded better?

    “We combine our finances, but we each set up an ‘allowance’ account that goes into individual accounts for each. This is a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ account that we mostly use for buying gifts for each other, lunches (when we decide to spend), or other incidentals for the individual (I smoke, she doesn’t: I take my smoke money out of my allowance, I don’t think its fair to ask her to make that SACRIFICE)”

    I think that there is a perception that couples who don’t have one big pot of money are somehow hiding something that isn’t there if they have an ‘allowance’. We tried it the other way, but, in an effort to conceal how much money she spent on me one birthday (way too much, but that’s another story), she ran up a huge credit card bill. Because she knew I would question such a large withdrawal to pay it off, she would pay it off in small chunks.

    Now, our concern is that we don’t interfere with OUR money with (her or)my wants.

    BTW, we are both on each other’s accounts, so we could find out the balances, transactions, etc. if we wanted to, but we have both COMMITTED ourselves to TRUST each other enough to know we aren’t engaged in misbehavior without checking-up.

  30. keith says:

    Wil-

    I’m not sure I understand your first sentence -it looks like it might have been a typing error.

    I know a number of couples who do it that way -one big pot, two little pots and open access to each others pots. To me there is not much of an issue there other than pragmatics. Lisa Knight said it quite well when she mentioned the existence of ‘secrets’ being the source of potential trouble. (other than secrets for gifts of course…) I am adressing the existence of secrets, walls, and the existence of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’ in a marriage which most commonly show themselves in the attutudes about money. I think the reason money issues are the greatest reason for marital strife isn’t really about ‘the money’, but about what the money represents to the spouses and the attitudes surrounding them. To the point once again- ‘mine’ versus ‘ours’.

    When I go out and make a buck, I consider the ownership of that buck to be a co-ownership between my wife and I. One big pot, one big pot/two little pots -I think it’s clear those are not the real issues…

    I am blessed by the fact my wife and I are both very frugal. She gets heart palpitations when she has to buy something that is not onsale!

  31. Anon says:

    My husband and I recently switched from a 3 account system (yours, mine, and ours), to combining our incomes.
    We based the three accounts on some advice from Suze Orman in “Young, Fabulous and Broke.” She recommended figuring out your total household expenses (bills, food, etc.) then paying those out of a joint account. Each person paid a percentage of the bills based on the percent of the household’s total income that s/he earned. (I didn’t describe that very well, but see the book for more details.) We also later added a joint savings account for common goals (like buying a house).
    That continued to get more confusing, so we just recently combined our finances almost completely. Now, we each get a set allowance (enough that he can buy a couple video games, and I can buy a pair of shoes each month… “fun money”, essentially) and the rest of our income goes to our joint account, which has been budgeted for all our necessary expenses (bills, loans, etc) as well as savings goals. This way we can each “blow” a portion of our income on the things that we each enjoy (but that the other person doesn’t really understand… he needs another video game? oh well), without worrying about it taking from our joint goals. It also helps because now we don’t have to bicker about who pays for which big purchases (we just bought a home, so we have a few of those coming up as we prepare for home improvement projects), since keeping separate accounts kept before had kept us from developing any significant savings.
    This new approach seems to work so far. We may continue to amend it, as needed, of course.

  32. Ginny says:

    In response to Wil’s comment above that “There are some times when I just don’t want her knowing how much I’m spending (especially if I’m spending on her), and I’m sure she feels the same.”

    We had “yours, mine and ours” accounts, and I thought it was a great idea, until I came to learn that they were more aptly called “hers, mine and ours.” If I ever get married again, I don’t think I’d be so trusting and instead have combined accounts.

  33. Sam says:

    This is a tough one. My husband and I got married in Oct. 2006 (first marriage for both of us at age 35). Right now we each have a personal checking account and personal savings account, we have a household account that we pay household bills out of (we each contribute a chunk 2X a month and its based on how much money we make – person who earns more puts in more), we also have an account for our investment property, various ING accounts, each have a 401k, 4 mortgages for 4 different properties with 4 different banks, and we have a brokerage account. We are three months into a major financial makeover and I think we need to combine finances as its too much trouble to keep track of all these different accounts. But, I also agree with some of the points made above in support of each party keeping their own accounts. I’m thinking that we should downsize to three checking accounts, one for household, and two for our two investment properties and one regular savings account.

  34. Robin says:

    My husband and I got married in December 2006. Since we didn’t live together before marriage, we didn’t have to deal with it before then. I have seen a lot of problems caused in my parents marriage because of the “my money vs. your money” thing, and he couldn’t imagine not combining our incomes, so we did. Our paychecks go into the same account. Each person is allowed a small amount of “blow money,” but since we’re on a tight budget we don’t have to worry about hiding big gift purchases. Anything not on the budget over $50 we talk about. I take care of most financial stuff… I’m the practical one. But he knows what is going on, and can always look at the Excel spreadsheet or access the bank account.

    I agree with Keith, though. If a couple is keeping their money in separate purely for practical reasons, that’s ok. But if they see it as “my money” vs “your money,” then that’s a problem. When you’re married, you become ONE flesh (borrowing from Dave Ramsey). Cameron brought some debt into the marriage, which we promptly paid off with some of my savings. I try not to think about who brings in what money… we’re both doing what we can, and it turns out to be enough, so that’s ok. I hope that makes sense.

    Money is the number one cause of divorce in America. Hopefully, by everything being OURS (income, spending, saving, and decision making), nothing can be “my fault” or “his fault.” We’re both to blame. Make sense?

  35. Bella says:

    We combine the budget but have not yet combined the money. We have common and separate savings accounts for all type of long term expanses.

    I have met a lot of couples who discussed their money. Perhaps, the most interesting case was one where the wife didn’t work or worked little. The husband was splitting all of his money in half with her, keeping it in separate accounts. They would then pay everything half and half.
    Another man I met was earning significantly less dans his wife. They were not combining money nor budget. The problem with this technique is that once all the money of one spouse is out on regular expenses or necessities, and the other wants to take vacations, he or she can leave alone… And no need to say it didn’t last!
    I think the first option is a good one where the most earning spouse gives half of the difference to the other, and they then split everything half and half….

  36. lilson54 says:

    I agree on some issues My wife and I has been married for 5 yrs. we both have separate accounts
    my wife is a signer on all checking accounts. On her accounts she is free to spend however she chooses. 11 months ago she purchased a 2 luxury automobiles without my input. This has caused much problems of trust even though I allowed this to happen. the yours and mine can be a terrible marriage buster if you don’t take time to set up an account of communication and openess

  37. wife says:

    Hi there. I guess I have been stressing about this issue as well because I just became 30 and am seriously thinking about what is in the future for us. We have never really discussed it and do not have a joint acct. He pays rent and I pay all utilities. Thanks for the tips on how to bring this up and to seriously discuss. All couples should! :) And I agree it should be ‘ours’ not ‘mine’.

  38. Frederick says:

    It is very intresting to see what happen when couples fail to understand themselves regarding their finances.In any case,I built a trust in my wife after we had both sat down to table our fears and we have never picked a bone over finance since then.

  39. Amanda says:

    I just got engaged a month ago, and we have worked to join all of our accounts since then. We have been dating for several years, and living together for one, so we both feel pretty comfortable about this. I also wrote an article on eHow about how to do this (see link http://www.ehow.com/how_5217462_combine-finances-significant-other.html). Have fun, and good luck!

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