Money can be one of the most contentious topics of discussion in a romantic relationship, making open and honest communication vital to overcoming common financial concerns like debt and child-related expenses. What’s the best way to address finances as a couple?
Should you combine your finances or keep them separate?
In the past, the default was for couples to combine all finances. This strategy can boost household spending power, dilute risk and promote shared goals, which can help keep the relationship financially aligned.
Today’s couples, however, are often carrying six-figure student loan debt and prefer a sense of autonomy in spending, which can make separate accounts preferable. The best solution will depend on your unique situation, and you may even benefit from a blended approach.
Consider your personal habits and personalities.
Financial harmony isn’t just about balancing the books. Taking the time to explore one another’s strengths and weaknesses can help bring clarity to the situation, and discussing family histories might uncover different perspectives or deeper narratives about money. Doing this important work can offer context to a spouse’s particular approach to spending or saving.
Sometimes 50/50 isn’t fair.
Don’t hold fast to rigid mathematics when smoothing financial turbulence in a relationship. For households where one person significantly outearns the other, splitting spending in half can cause undue stress on the lower-earning spouse. It may be more reasonable to reduce that person’s financial obligations, especially if they are able to contribute more in other areas, such as household management or child-rearing.
Whatever you decide, always take the time to communicate with your partner about major financial decisions. After all, every decision you make affects your shared future.