FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
When two (bank accounts) become one: sharing finances with your partner
6 March 2020
For many couples, a big step in their relationship is merging finances into a joint bank account – particularly after they’ve just gotten married or decided to move in together. It might be the right decision for you and your partner, but before doing so, there are some important things to consider to make sure you do it right.
It’s important to create a budget and keep track of what you’re both spending. It’s pretty rare that you and your partner will earn exactly the same amount, just as it is unlikely you have the exact same attitude towards spending habits. Online tools such as budget planners can help you both get an idea of where you spend and save, and how you can join forces.
If you’re going to share funds, it’s good to have an open discussion on what is reasonable for you both to contribute to a weekly or monthly budget. Highlight what you’d each be contributing when it comes to household expenses, bills or extras (like date nights), and make sure it’s spread fairly. If either of you are contributing less because of your income or financial situation, make sure this is also factored into your budget before going ahead.
It’s perfectly acceptable to keep your own account as well; in fact, it’s expected. Keeping an account separately will allow you to maintain your financial independence and ensure that if anything ever happens, you have funds to fall back on.
Manage this account in the same way you do your joint one. Budget what goes in and factor for what goes out. It can be helpful to link this account to your shared one, just in case you need to transfer between them easily.
Have fun with it
If you and your partner are planning for something, like a holiday or a big event, a fun way to save can be to set goals together. You can do this by setting challenges like no-spend days, or taking turns doing spend-free date nights.
Making saving fun means you’re far more likely to achieve your financial goals. Because you’re doing it together, you can motivate and cheer each other on. And in the end, you’re both rewarded and have influenced positive habits in your mutual spending and saving.
If you need to add some focus to your finances then you could explore the concept of ‘bucketing’, where you split your money into clearly labelled sub-accounts to make sure you’re saving and spending in the right areas.
Keep track of any paperwork or accounting information that comes with your joint finances. It’s important that both of you do this so you can hold each other accountable if money is misspent. You can keep files and documents organised somewhere that you can both access them and keep them updated as details change.
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