5 Reasons We Won’t Separate Our Finances When Married

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Don't Separate Your Finances When MarriedWhen I eventually get married to my current girlfriend we are going to combine our finances. It is what makes sense to us and what will work best for us. We could decide to keep our finances separate but we have our reasons why we won’t. So why are we so against us keeping separate finances?

1) We Have the Same General Financial Goals

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t marry someone who doesn’t have the same general goals (financial and otherwise) as you. We want to live a decent lifestyle while making sure we are prepared for the future. We don’t want to incur debt unless absolutely necessary. We want to be able to retire comfortably and are willing to save a decent chunk of money now to be able to retire comfortably later.

2) We Don’t Want to Create Resentment

If we kept separate finances we’d likely get tired of the income inequality between us. On top of that maybe my girlfriend would save more money and if I spent all my money I’d expect her to treat me to dinners, etc because she has money available! That wouldn’t be fair to her but it’d seem like a good alternative in my eyes.

3) We Will Be A Team So Our Money Should Act That Way

On a more basic level when you become married you become a team for life. If you’re a team for life why wouldn’t you want your money to act like a team as well to maximize its potential? Often, separate finances means little communications about finances. Having separate finances could easily lead to duplicate effort and a non optimal use of each person’s money.

4) Separate Finances Makes It Easier To Hide Financial Problems From Each Other

If you keep your finances completely separate chances are you’ll never talk about your finances to each other. Even if you do, chances are that you’ll never see the complete picture of the situation your spouse is in. Why? You kept your finances separate for a reason. If you can’t co-mingle your finances and agree to how to spend money together you’d hide the part your other partner doesn’t want to see. After all, those fights are why you keep your finances separate right?

5) It Wouldn’t Work For Retirement

Unless we both attacked retirement, both saved a good chunk of our separate money for retirement and both had the same goal for retirement it just simply wouldn’t work. We’d likely end up retiring at significantly different times. We’d retire with different sized nest eggs that would lead to different amounts of money to spend.

It would likely end up with one person supporting the other person, at least to a point. Then chances are there would be resentment from #2 above. I mean wouldn’t you be upset if you saved aggressively for retirement and then gave most of your money to the other spouse so they can keep spending like they have their whole life? You’d never reap the full benefits of all of your hard work saving for retirement.

So what do you do (or plan to do)? Do you have separate finances? Do you combined? How does it work for you?

photo by: phil wood photo

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary this weekend. We never separated our finances. Obviously that’s not the big reason, but it is a reason nonetheless. I like the way you spelled it out – good luck!

  2. Great points. We combined our finances soon after getting married and it’s definitely been a great decision.

  3. I think William has a point – the marriages that we have seen fail so far have all had separate finances. And although the separate accounts might not have been the primary reason they divorced, I think it makes it way easier to stir resentment and allow for miscommunication that can lead to other issues.

  4. I like your articulation here and I totally agree.

    May I ask though why your finances are separate premaritally? You own a house together, right? I think it’s smart to not consider yourselves married until you’re married but I’ve also noticed an epidemic in the PF blogosphere of premarital financial mingling.

    • Our finances are separate right now. I actually own the house outright (just in my name, still have a mortgage) because of her massive student loan debt and I put 100% of the down payment down out of my money. We treat it as our house though and it will be our house after we get married.

      I just think combining things before marriage makes things complicated should something ever happen and things don’t work out. I severely doubt that will happen with us but that’s why we don’t jump into marriage like some people. We want to make sure we’ll be good for the long haul. Divorce is bad :(

  5. These are all great points! I’m thankful we were on the same page with money since day 1. It’s really helped our marriage and it’s been wonderful to NEVER have a financial fight.

  6. My wife and I have always been on the same page when it comes to money. We are both very frugal with our everyday spending. We do have separate accounts but that is just pure laziness. I hate dealing with banks to close and open accounts :-)

    • It is a pain but once you do it you won’t ever have to do it again. If that’s the only thing stopping you I’d say sit down and get it done one day.

  7. Our finances are combined. It works best for us. As long as you are both on the same page, then I say go for it!

  8. Jason Clayton | frugal habits says:

    We also combined our finances and it does create a closeness on money related decisions. (Married 11 years) I’m not sure if it’s a 100% rule to follow, but your points are hard to argue.

    Number 5 is pretty huge. It would be awkward if one individual saved all their cash for retirement and the other blew everything. By combing your finances you can be on the same page here.

  9. #3 is right on the money (no pun intended). We combined everything when we got married and while it took some getting used to we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    The only exception is that we set up separate “fun money” accounts for each of us to spend as we please. I can take my portion and light it on fire if I so choose. It gets rid of arguments like how much we spend on haircuts or froufrou coffee since they come from the fun funds.

  10. Great points, especially #4. You have to wonder, if the other spouse is hiding financial problems, what other ones could they be hiding? My wife and I have been married for just over 11 years and have been combined from the beginning. Like you said, we’re a team so this step is just natural. Sure, it may not work for everyone, but I think that generally it should be the way to go. All of our stuff is combined, but we do also have a small bank account for my wife so she can do things just for herself and not have to worry where the money is going to come from.

    • We do plan on having a set amount we both decide on to spend on whatever we want. Whether we keep it in a different account or not is yet to be seen.

  11. If I get married to my current girlfriend I’m pretty sure we’d combine our finances. There just seems to be so much benefits to doing so. Rather than both worrying about how to best manage our own money, we can pool it together to really get the most out of it. The tricky part is when one of you has a large amount of debt going in. Usually the other person would want to help pay that off asap, but do you do so at the expense of your other financial goals?

    • I’ve reached my other large goals except for retirement (I own a home) so I think we’re going to attack my girlfriend’s large student loans ASAP once we get married.

  12. I totally agree! Our finances have been combined for quite some time now. To me, it just makes sense! I don’t really think you feel like much of a team if you’re always nickel and diming each other over every little thing.

  13. Eliminating resentment seems a good enough reason to combine finances. That way you never have to worry about “how much I earn” or “how much you earn” it’ll always be “hey, this is our money and what you spend, we both lose” and what you save – we both gain. I think it fosters better teamwork and much smoother managing of finances.

  14. Number 1 and 3 are the reasons why we keep our money together!

  15. We have always had joint finances but have friend who don’t. Can’t understand it at all. After all, I didn’t get married with the thought of what is going to happen if it doesn’t work out.

  16. I seems old fashioned, but we combined our finances when we married (44 years ago). For the most part, I take care of the finances. My wife and I always saved our money and invested it. It worked for us.

  17. Just got married a few months ago and immediately combined all finances. She got access to my credit cards and I got access to all her student loan debt.

    Really, it was for all the reasons you mentioned. We want to have everything be shared, whether good or bad. Plus, since she’s in school and I’ve been working for several years now, having separate accounts would feel like me giving her money each month, and we had no interest in her having an allowance of sorts.

  18. For most married couples, I do not understand why they separate their finances. There is power in the synergy that is realized by combining your finances, as you pointed out. If you have nothing to hide and are truly on the same page financially, then combining your finances helps you reach goals that much faster.

  19. Love the logo!!! WE have merged our finances since before we were married and it works for us. Everyone needs to find their best financial path!!!!

  20. We keep our finances together. It would drive me crazy if everything was separated, especially since my husband has no interest in handling the money.

  21. Combining finances is the way to go. Being on the same page financially shows you’re on the same page with deeper values. I think you’re wise to stay separate until you walk down the isle. Did I miss when the big day is?

  22. I agree with combining money. Obviously, if one parent wants to stay home once you have kids you have to have combined money due to only one income. It helped us, however, to give each other a small budget each month that we could spend on whatever we wanted and the other spouse could not get upset over. I think video games are a waste of money, but my husband disagrees. And he disagrees that a haircut should cost any money. Now, we each have a little money each month to spend on what the other might not approve of, and it works out great!

  23. Adam Hathaway says:

    We combined right away. That would be an awkward conversation if one ended up needing some money for something. Sorry, you need to get a better job, LOL. That would last long.

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