Last week I wrote an article on how to combine finances as a couple. Writing this post really got me thinking about all the ways you can manage money together and how to settle on the right method that works for you and your partner.
In my research, Google searching was only getting me so far. And honestly, results trend to the big finance media articles or a heavily white male dominated, traditional mindset. This isn’t the kind of advice I was hoping for. So, I reached out to my fellow personal finance and financial independence bloggers to learn about their perspective on the topic.
First off, I’d like to give a huge thanks to my blogging friends. Together we can provide a broader perspective on money management and empower women to step forward, take control of our finances and go after the future we dream of. When I started this journey, I had no idea I’d be connecting with these amazing women and I’m grateful to be a part of this community.
Secondly, being able to step into the lives of these couples was such a learning experience. I’ve been a single parent for over 11 years. I clawed my way up to where I am now and it isn’t easy for me to switch mindsets and start thinking in terms of “us”. The women in this roundup helped remind me how unique every situation is and that managing money as a couple, even while maintaining separate finances, can be fulfilling and add strength to a partnership.
Contents and Quick Links
- 1 The key to managing money as a couple
- 2 The importance of communication
- 3 How to talk to your spouse / partner about money
- 4 The importance of common financial goals
- 5 How to have separate but combined finances as a couple
- 5.1 On Love and Money: The Mechanics of Shared Finances – The Financial Mechanic
- 5.2 The Case For Separate But Combined Finances – Angela at Tread Lightly, Retire Early
- 5.3 Our Retirement? The Importance of Each Partner Having a Retirement Account – Bethany at His And Her FI
- 5.4 How To Manage Money as a Couple [Separate Love and Money] – Janneke at Financially Independent Mom
- 5.5 Stop Money Fights with Your Spouse with this One Trick – Karen at Slow Motion Mama
- 6 Combined Finances as a Couple
- 7 Take Away
The key to managing money as a couple
Every article has two things in common. Communication and the sharing of common financial goals is essential to healthy money management with your spouse / partner. This was clearly emphasised by every couple.
Somewhat surprising to me was that almost every couple maintains combined but separate finances. Meaning, pool together and split common expenses and saving goals, but manage independent accounts separately.
With this method, you remain a team with common goals and work together on building the future you dream of creating together. But you also reduce arguments and stay true to your own individual money personality (history and habits), free of resentment or judgement.
Importantly, you also build your own emergency fund. You never know what the future holds and it’s so very important to be prepared for the worst. If you never have need of it, you are left with extra retirement padding. Not a bad thing. But if you ever do, due to separation or divorce, loss of a job or the death of a partner, you will be financially prepared. Peace of mind is a very valuable thing and being prepared is never a bad thing.
Here is what 12 of my fellow women in personal finance bloggers have to say on the topic of managing money with your partner / spouse:
The importance of communication
How To Stay Frugal When Your Spouse Isn’t – Rebecca at Financially Minded Millennial
When one partner has debt, and the other doesn’t, there can be very different spending habits and financial goals. This was the case for Rebecca and her husband. She quickly realized how communication is key to reducing arguments or resentments, especially when one partner needs to be more frugal. She also presents the reasons in favor of combined finances for joint bills and goals, but the importance of separating the rest.
How Much is Too Much? Spending “Our Money” – Joey at Fruitland Home
What do you do when one partner spends too much money? Micromanaging your partner or overspending to get even don’t help your finances. Communication, a family budget and shared financial goals will.
There’s No “I” in Team But There Can Be Separate Finances – Sarah at Smile and Conquer
Sarah points out that the older you are, the more likely you are to bring financial baggage to a relationship. Managing this with a new partner can be challenging. That’s why communication is key.
For her, combined but separate finances works and allows for individual independence. There’s really no right or wrong way to combine or separate finances and couples need to find the method that works best for them. The key to making it work, talk, and then talk some more. If you have kids, include them in the conversation. Money isn’t taboo and should never drive you apart and lead to resentments.
How to talk to your spouse / partner about money
How To Bring Up Money Insecurities with a Partner – Bethany at His And Her FI
Everyone brings their own unique money background and personality to a relationship. For Bethany, it took trial and error to learn how to communicate and respect her and her partner’s different money approaches. In her post, she discusses the importance of having those “big” money conversations, including all the hard to verbalize feelings surrounding money.
How To Have a Budget Meeting with Your Spouse – Shannon at The Freckled Foot Doc
What do you do when you and your partner have half a million dollars in student loan debt? Forge a new identity and run away to Mexico! Or, you could communicate with your spouse and create a family budget. Which is wisely the option that Shannon went with.
How To Discuss Money With Your Spouse (Even If They Don’t Want To) – Heather at Penny Steward Mama
The key to open money conversations with your partner is to focus on the big picture. Find a shared financial goal you both on board. Then you can work on the details of your money meetings. Heather provides some great tips on just how to find the time and prepare for discussions with your spouse about finances.
The importance of common financial goals
How to Pursue FI as a Couple – Jessica at The Fioneers
At one point, Jessica’s marriage felt like a financial tug of war of competing goals and priorities. One partner preferred to save for the future, while the other felt that life was best enjoyed in the moment. Saving for financial goals is more challenging this way since you can’t team up to achieve it together.
Saving for a down payment is one thing but when your goal is financial independence, teamwork is key. Jessica learned just how powerful it can be when you and your partner share the same financial goal. Marriage becomes a stronger partnership and you can build momentum together. For them, with a shared goal they were able to be more intentional with their finances and double their savings rate. Yay for teamwork!
How to have separate but combined finances as a couple
Successful money management as a couple rely on 4 key facets:
- Common goals
- Open communication
- Matching expectations
- Sharing strengths
The Financial Mechanic breaks each of these down and shares why separate finances work well in her marriage and how to cover joint expenses.
The Case For Separate But Combined Finances – Angela at Tread Lightly, Retire Early
In this post, Angela points out some key reasons why individual finances can be beneficial to a relationship. While it is beneficial to work as a team on common financial goals, like buying a home, planning for children or saving for financial independence, it’s still beneficial to manage finances individually for everyday spending and personal goals. Paying off debt and building an individual emergency fund are important for building a sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as protecting yourself for the future.
Our Retirement? The Importance of Each Partner Having a Retirement Account – Bethany at His And Her FI
Speaking of protecting yourself for the future, Bethany provides further advice on the importance of maintaining stability and independence in a relationship.
How To Manage Money as a Couple [Separate Love and Money] – Janneke at Financially Independent Mom
Janneke started out joining finances with her partner to cover shared expenses. Right after moving in together, they opened a shared account and deposited income based on earning percentage. Even after marriage and kids, they still maintain this same system of combining finances, yet keeping individual accounts separate. Yet again, the key to finding a system that works for you and your relationship is open and honest communication.
Stop Money Fights with Your Spouse with this One Trick – Karen at Slow Motion Mama
Let’s face it, one of the leading causes of divorce is money issues. Different spending habits and opinions on how money should be spent can lead to some heated arguments, or even worse, building resentment. That’s where his and her money comes in.
Combined Finances as a Couple
How To Manage Money As A Couple – J at Millennial Boss
There are some advantages to fully combining finances as a couple. When you start young, it’s simply easier. However, J points out that there are some problems with this method, particularly when one partner is the main breadwinner.
The takeaway here seams pretty clear, if you want to successfully manage money with your partner, communication is key. Keep up those money dates! You are a team and managing your money as a couple takes two people. Make them fun and rewarding!
Use these meetings to discuss the future you both dream of. Then, set common goals and discuss how to work together in order to achieve them. Regardless of how you combine finances, or keep them separate, you get to work together to achieve the life you both want.