When couples decide to get married, there are some important things to consider beyond wedding planning. One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a married couple is how to approach your finances. Specifically, is it better for you to combine your bank accounts or keep your finances separate? Admittedly, this is not a very romantic topic but it’s important to talk about as it helps you solve potential problems in the future.
If you’re trying to figure out which approach is best for you and your partner, here are some things to consider.
Separate bank accounts might complicate things.
Some married couples find that keeping finances separate leads to a lot of uncomfortable conversations about who pays for what. Regular bills are one thing but what about date nights, groceries, gas, etc.? Having everyone come out of one bank account is simple and each spouse knows exactly where they stand without having any awkward conversations.
On the other hand, some couples can easily overcome these issues, especially if they each had a good financial routine in place before marriage. An easy solution for some couples is to decide on a set way to split household expenses based on each partner’s income. For example, everything can be split 50/50 if each person makes the same amount of money. If one spouse makes significantly more, the split can be 60/40 or 70/30.
Separate finances give you more personal freedom and privacy.
One of the biggest pros of maintaining separate accounts isn’t necessarily financial. It’s the feeling of personal freedom you get from being able to spend your own money how you want, when you want. While you still need to communicate with your partner about monthly bills and unexpected expenses, keeping things separate helps you maintain the freedom that you might be used to or prefer.
Separate accounts make gifting easier.
Yes, it’s easier to surprise your spouse with a special gift if you can freely spend your own money but when it comes to gifting, there’s another aspect to think about, especially for people who are well off.
If one partner entered into the marriage with a significant inheritance or benefited from a substantial financial gift, keeping this money separate protects those funds in the event of a divorce.
Sharing finances can make a couple feel more secure and equal.
For some people, sharing a bank account is the ultimate expression of trust. They may see those who prefer to maintain separate finances as not being fully committed to the marriage. Another thing to think about is income inequality. If one partner makes significantly more and has different spending habits than the other, it can easily lead to tense situations. That’s precisely why it’s important to discuss all of the options beforehand to make sure both people are on the same page.