When relationships start to get serious the urge is generally to start merging lives completely. While that works in certain aspects, it might not be the smartest option when it comes to finances. The average age of marrying is later than ever, which means that people are used to having some financial independence. Money can be a hot topic. Here are some reasons to consider keeping your finances separate.
In Case things Don’t Work Out
You never want to assume the worst from the start, but the truth is that many relationships don’t last forever. If for some reason yours doesn’t, it will be easier to part ways without having to untangle all the money. Another side to this is the importance of keeping financial independence. When the money is all shared the concept of getting away from a bad relationship might feel overwhelming. It can be a more empowering choice for each person in the relationship to have their independence in that sense so that decisions to stay or go are more clear-cut and not made out of desperation.
The Freedom to Make Your Own Purchases
Couples should consult each other on major purchases and important financial decisions, but at the same time no one wants to feel like their significant other is their parent. Asking for permission to spend money on smaller things like personal maintenance or clothing might feel unnatural after some time spent being comfortable living a life on your own terms. Even if your significant other isn’t pestering you about your spending, you might start to feel guilty for spending anything at all since it always feels like taking from the shared pot.
If you keep your own accounts you will be free to spend little amounts of money here and there without having to explain it when the bank statement comes. This is also beneficial when you’re trying to plan a surprise or buy a gift. It’s almost impossible to keep something like a birthday trip secret from someone when you’re sharing a joint bank account.
It’s not uncommon for “spenders” and “savers” to come together in a relationship. While neither of those styles is necessarily wrong they sure can feel like it when it’s the opposite of your belief. Having separate bank accounts with your own money in a relationship is going to allow both parties to be themselves without the constant worry of how it’s affecting the household.
But for that to work, it’s best to have three total accounts, the two individual and then one shared. The shared bank account should be for shared expenses and parties should contribute a fair percentage based on their earnings. That way there’s a stable place in the middle with a little more flexibility on the edges.
Remember that keeping separate money is not intended to keep distance in the relationship, it’s intended to keep the peace. It’s still important to be open and honest about finances overall to avoid any financial mishaps, as well as to promote the habit of authentic honesty in a relationship.
Marriage Is Different
These rules are relevant when you’re dating, but when you get married, you may want to reconsider merging your finances. Personally, we have joint bank accounts and it’s worked out great for us (we didn’t merge until we were married). It keeps us accountable to each other, and know where we stand financially. Every relationship is different, but keep these tips in mind as maybe they’re the key to getting there!