Just the thought of mixing certain things together gives you the chills. Like peanut butter and pickles… We’ll pass, or what about strawberries and ketchup? Yuck! Well relationships and finances can sometimes be seen in that same negative light.
When to talk about it, when to share a bank account, and how to split finances if a couple lives together are just some of the questions that run through most people’s mind when relationships take that next step. The CGS Team has done some research and found useful pointers to help set you on the right path for a happy, financially thriving relationship! Dealing with relationships & finances will be a breeze!
So why even think about sharing your hard earn money with your significant other? Well, if you see a future with your partner, then the time will come when each of you will need to share some of your money. The topic of money is a sensitive subject but if you are in a serious relationship and looking to move forward, you will have to get over it!
Have you already seen financial red flags? Has your partner asked to borrow money and then not pay you back? Keep a mental note of financial behavior that isn’t responsible. Understanding how your partner is with money will help you when deciding how to move forward. When you start talking about living together, that’s when the major financial conversations need to happen. Assuming you have already made this step, continue reading for how to grow with merged finances.
If you are going to live together, are you going to split everything equally? We highly recommend doing so. Not only will splitting everything down the middle ensure that you are equal, it can prevent any potential resentment from the one person paying more. What if your incomes are significantly different? If you (or your partner) cannot afford half of all the expenses, a mutual decision needs to be made. Decide if you both want to wait until income levels before moving in, or if one of you will take over more of the financial responsibility.
Whoever does end up paying more needs to be on the same page with their partner. Since someone is paying more, are they entitled to more assets should the relationship end? Will the lease or mortgage be in the financially responsible party’s name only? Make sure that these basis are covered so there is no confusion down the line. If you are seriously considering moving in, read 6 Tips for Living With a Significant Other.
Saving & Spending
If you are already living together and splitting everything equally, then you are on the right track! So what happens when either of you want to make a large purchase? If the purchase is for joint use, then consult with your partner before making any affirmative decisions.
If the purchase is for your personal use, ask yourself this question: “Will this purchase affect my ability to pay my share of the expenses?” If the answer is yes, discuss it with your partner before making any purchases. If the answer is no, then inform your partner of what you are looking to buy. There is no need for secrets. If your ability to purchase the major item doesn’t affect your ability to pay for your half of the expenses, then informing your partner shows respect for their opinion.
This is a huge step in long term relationship and should be decided after careful thought. Are you and your partner living together? Opening a joint account or co-signing is not a great idea if the answer is no. However, if you are living together and splitting expenses equally, then having a joint bills account is a great way to ensure expenses are taken care of. Simply deposit each of your share of the bill amounts and pay them from that account.
Keep any other money you earn in your own personal account. Also consider a joint account for saving money for future events that both of you may be financially responsible for. This joint account should be solely for savings, that way it can help you both build some financial cushion for a rainy day.
Also, having a joint savings account is an awesome way to help save for other things such as vacations, gifts for mutual friends, and even your wedding. Make sure you discuss how much each of you will put into your savings. After you’ve both talked it over and come to a clear understanding of how the account will be used, it’s important to maintain an honest communication amongst one another. Determining how each of you will contribute into the account is your decision, but being fair is always the safe way to go!
When is it appropriate to share personal income and debt amounts with each other? It’s extremely important to be honest about your income (and debts) when you’re planning the move-in process. This is when personal finances need to become known to your partner. If you have outstanding debt, bad credit, or any other financial problem that may put your joint expenses in danger, then make your partner aware.
However, if you have personal trust funds or inheritance outside of your normal income, use discretion when sharing. In fact, it may not be necessary to share that information until you are considering marriage. There are just some things that a boyfriend (or girlfriend) doesn’t need to know right away.
Ultimately, any financial arrangement between two people needs to be discussed and understood 100%. There should be no confusion when it comes to your joint finances. And one thing is for sure: if you’re considering sharing a joint account with your honey, it’s important to maintain a separate personal account as well. Only deposit your half of expenses and savings into your joint account. Tomorrow isn’t promised and if a break up was to occur you wouldn’t want it to be messier than it needed to be.
Do you have a great financial relationship with your partner? What steps did you take to get your financial situation on the table? What tips have you found useful in sharing the account? We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, so leave a comment below to share!