It’s a good feeling to know that you and your partner are there for each other through thick and thin.
Whether you are married or simply in a long-term, committed relationship, it’s always nice to know that the other person will always be there for you.
When you get to this point in the relationship, there are some transitions that are commonly made. You may get engaged or married, move in together and you may even join finances. While it might not sound like the most romantic step, the joining of finance is a very important milestone for many people in their relationship.
As with other big steps in your partnership, it’s not one to enter into lightly. There are many ways to join finances, and you need to be sure you’re choosing the method that works best for both you and your partner.
With that in mind, here are 3 common ways couples combine their finances:
Method #1 – We’re All In
This method means both partners contribute all of their income to the same shared accounts, no one has his or her separate account.
LearnVest explained this is generally for couples where neither of them have any significant assets. Together you will decide how much money each month will go toward your monthly expenses, any debt either of you have, savings or entertainment, such as date nights or fun purchases.
Method #2 – Equal Halves
Some couples contribute only a portion of each paycheck to a shared account, saving the remaining income for personal purchases.
There are two ways to decide how much to contribute.
Either both people can contribute the same amount of money or they can contribute the same percentage of their paycheck.
The only difference between the two is that in the second option, the actual amount of money each person contributes may not be equal, though the fraction of both parties’ paychecks will be.
Method #3 – You Buy, I’ll Save
Another popular option for couples who want to focus on savings is to only live on one paycheck. Generally, the person who makes more money will pay for all the household expenses, while the other will put his or her earnings away in a savings account.
This method may be used when a couple wants to save up for something together, like a house or for having a comfortable nest egg for a future family.
It’s also good in situations where one partner has little or inconsistent income, or when the couple agrees that, at some point, they will be only living on one income. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as if one parent will be staying home to care for their children.
Considerations To Make
When combining finances, it’s important to discuss all possible situations that might arise later on in life. Open communication about what would happen if the relationship were to end or if your financial circumstances change is a good idea. Creating a plan for these events is important to lay out before they come up.
In the heat of the moment, it might be easy to let emotions or lack of time get the best of you and leave you with an agreement that doesn’t benefit both people.
Bankrate also pointed out that a common mistake many couples make after joining finances is overspending.
“Newly married couples have a tendency to purchase things beyond their economic capacity,” Charles Schmitz, who has written about money in marriage, told Bankrate. “They want everything immediately. They get themselves deep in debt before they are ready to handle responsibility.”
It’s important to discuss spending rules, such as the maximum amount of money that should go toward a purchase or a dollar limit, and for any purchases over that amount, the buyer will have to discuss the purchase with the other partner.
Budgeting will give both partners a good idea of how much they are able to spend on fun but unnecessary purchases. Talk about how much money will need to go to monthly expenses and debt payments. Also discuss savings goals, including:
- What you want to save for, such as a house
- When you would like to be able to make the purchase
- How much you anticipate the purchase costing
Knowing these numbers will help determine how much money should be put away in savings.
Regardless of which method you and partner decide to go with, it all comes down to trust. If you each trust in each other that you are making the right decision, you’ll be on the path to saving.