On your wedding day, you will vow to share your heart, your love and your life with the person that means the most to you. However, are you willing to share your bank account with them too? There are as many opinions about this as there are banks, and every couple has to decide on how they will handle their finances together and honestly. This should be done long before the wedding day so that you are both in agreement and comfortable with how such matters will be handled. Remember that many marriages have actually broken up over financial disagreements, so ensure that you are on the same page, so to speak.
There are three basic options into which couples will have to look:
- Share everything
- Do not share anything
- “Yours, mine and ours”
If couples decide to share everything, this is usually carried through to their personal information, their group of friends, their hobbies, and so on. This may work really well for some couples, but be disastrous for others. Every relationship and marriage is different; there is no right or wrong.
There are other relationships in which each person has agreed not to share their bank accounts or finances at all. In these cases, each will pay for their own hobbies, clothing, phone accounts, cars, insurance, and so on. For other items (like groceries and rent), these couples usually decide who will pay what beforehand and stick to these financial obligations. There might be a joint account into which “spare” cash is deposited for savings but, generally, each person uses their private income.
The third option involves couples who may or may not have a join account, but who share certain expenses and take individual responsibility for others. Individual costs include clothing, nights out without your spouse, sports gear, trips to the beauty salon, and so on. Shared expenses would include groceries, school fees for the children, holidays, etc…
In order to decide what option works best for you, it is wise to ask yourselves the following questions, the answers to which are revealing:
- Do we both want to be involved in managing our household’s finances or does one person want to take control?
- Will sharing finances make one or both of us feel more secure in the relationship?
- Am I or my partner worried about the other one hiding expenditures?
- Do we have the same attitude towards saving and spending money?
- Do I or my spouse have a particular hobby or interest that the other does not want their money being spent on?
- Do I have something I want to hide from my spouse when it comes to spending money?
- Does my spouse have a bad credit record?
- Do I feel cramped or controlled by the idea of losing a portion of my independence?
There are benefits to each option, and these simply need to be considered and weighed up by each individual couple.
In the case of a joint account, the benefits are:
- Total transparency
- It cultivates a sense of unity
- You save on separate bank charges
- It may be more convenient in the long run
Separate accounts mean:
- Fewer feelings of guilt, as you are spending your own money
- Greater control over your responsibilities, without worrying that your partner is spending cash unnecessarily
The clue to choosing the right option is to maintain open, honest communication. By expressing your concerns and feelings, you will both feel validated and accommodated.
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