Five Benefits of Combining Finances – for couples keeping separate accounts
Like many couples these days, my husband and I lived together before we were married so our finances have evolved over time. We became roommates while we lived in college housing and student loans covered our living expenses. When we moved out of college housing, we opened a joint checking account and developed a (flawed) system of each transferring half-ish of what was needed to cover the joint bills. This system only got more confusing and flawed as time went on and it carried over into our marriage. We were married for over two years and even bought a house before we learned the benefits of combining finances.
Combining finances isn’t for everyone, but here are the reasons it works for us:
1.) Complete financial transparency
With all our money going into and coming out of the same place, there’s no more questioning which bills were paid by whom, or when the auto-drafts were supposed to happen for this or that. All finances are available for both of us to see. We pay ourselves an allowance from the joint account so that we have personal money that can be spent with no questions asked, but even that transfer is budgeted and shows up in our bank transactions. It’s very freeing to know that everything that needs to be taken care of financially is available and visible to both of us.
Every time the debit card for the joint account is swiped, I’m spending “our money” and it makes me stop and consider every purchase. Is this something for us? Should I be spending “our money” on it? I cannot even guess as to how much frivolous spending (on both sides) has stopped because of this.
When every expense is a joint effort, you and your spouse are working together to decide what, where, and when to spend your money. No single person is in charge. This involves communicating frequently and keeping each other aware of different things: The car will need an oil change soon, it should go on next month’s budget; There is a five paycheck month coming up, do we want to make that big purchase then? You and your spouse are a team from the moment you say “I do” so why not make finances a team sport instead of a single player game?
4.) No more money fights
Money and finances are one of the top things that couples fight about, especially in the early stages of marriage and home ownership. With combined finances we no longer bicker about who is paying the higher bills, who is putting more money into the house, whose turn it is to buy groceries. We’re a team, all money decisions have been made by us together, and we both support the system we’ve developed.
I honestly can’t believe money was ever a point of contention in our marriage.
Beyond bickering about bills, we never really trusted each other’s spending habits before. I was too frugal, he was too free. Neither of us could meet in the middle or believed in the other’s judgement on money. Especially on my part. I never trusted my husband with money because I knew he wasn’t paying attention. But as we’ve grown through this process, a trust has developed, much deeper than there was before. It’s been a trust building process from the beginning.
Like I said above, combining finances isn’t for everyone. Every household has different incomes and different expenses that need to be taken into consideration. And when it comes to taxes, sometimes keeping things separate ends up being better for you. But I definitely think that no matter your situation, you and your SO should sit down and consider finances together. Exercising complete financial transparency will help you to work together as a team, trusting each other and holding each other accountable for your finances.
What approach do your and your significant other take toward managing finances? Leave a comment below and share what works for you!