If you’re in a committed relationship, you and your significant other will need to figure out the best way to manage your finances. You can do this in three ways – jointly, separately, or through a combination of separate and joint accounts. Here are some pros and cons for each option to help you figure out how to best tackle money as a couple.
Join Your Accounts
Having joint accounts simplifies your money management. You won’t have to worry about dividing resources and financial responsibilities, and it’s easy to track spending and budgeting on financial software like Mint. The downside for some couples is that all their spending habits are in the open. If your significant other has an issue with how you spend money it can make life a bit chilly, especially if one person makes more than the other.
Separate Your Accounts
Keeping money separate can help avoid conflict because each person has full control over their funds and spending. Many couples elect to keep separate accounts in their relationship because they are simply used to managing their own finances. The downside is that separate accounts will hurt investment potential and you’ll spend a lot more time discussing how shared bills will be split and how to make a budget work for household expenses. If you decide to keep your accounts separate, create a spreadsheet to track expenditures.
Separate AND Join Your Accounts
The way a multiple account system works is that all the income goes into a joint account. Bills, savings, debt and retirement are then managed jointly, just like the Joint account option above. But this option also includes private checking accounts for each person. A set amount is transferred to these accounts each month and you and your significant other can decide how you each want to spend that money. Having joint and separate accounts is a lot more complex way to navigate finances, but it can also help eliminate judgement on spending. It allows a couple individual freedoms, while still providing an avenue to work together on joint goals and retirement. With this method, you’ll have to keep track of more bank accounts. Be sure to discuss all the pros and cons with your loved one before trying this multiple account method. Communication, trust and planning are key to avoiding potential conflict.