Our top 5 tips to combining money as a couple
Working with a lot of young professionals, we see various arrangements when it comes to combining money with your partner. For some, the process of keeping their money separate works for them, for others, they are happy to combine their money.
Whatever works for you and your relationship is the best way to approach this. As a general rule however, if you do plan to start having children, you may need to start thinking about combining some of your money.
In this article, I’ll give you our top 5 tips to combining money as a couple.
Tip 1: Joint goals
Usually when combining money, there is a trigger that is encouraging you to do this.
You may be considering having children? You might want to save for a house? Maybe you want to share money to ensure that you both live an equal financial life? Whatever your reason, it’s important to discuss this to make sure you are on the same page.
Identifying how much you will both contribute and into what account is important, but what is more important is understanding and agreeing how that money is going to be spent.
Tip 2: Separate goals
Combining money doesn’t mean you both need to put all of your pay into one big account. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend that at all! Once you’ve worked out what you are jointly saving for, it’s time to discuss your separate goals.
If buying a set of golf clubs or a designer dress is important to you as an individual, then you should still be able to prioritise it. Discussing these with your partner and having separate money for these goals is really important.
One of the biggest risks of merging money as a couple is losing your own independence. Starting small with a joint bank account for bills or a house deposit and having separate money in your own accounts can mean that you can have the best of both worlds.
Tip 3: Account structures
As part of preparing a financial plan for our clients, we usually recommend an account structure which suits their individual circumstances.
For anyone who has read the Barefoot Investor, you may be familiar with the ‘bucket’ approach to managing your finances. This is financial planning 101 and something all good financial plans should incorporate.
We usually recommend that our clients have an account which addresses their bills, one that addresses their spending money (or one each depending on how you wish to approach this) and any specialty accounts for big items like holidays or a home deposit.
Putting in the work upfront to figure out what bank accounts you will have set up and how much each person will contribute to these accounts each pay period will mean you will have the right set up from the beginning.
Tip 4: Accept imperfections
Even after you work out your joint goals, your separate goals and come up with the perfect account structures, there are going to be hiccups.
When they do occur, it’s worth coming together as a team to re-discuss your goals and whether they still suit your needs. If you are finding yourself overspending in some areas, it’s time to consider if you have assigned enough money to them. This can start the conversation of what you will give up as a couple to ensure you can get the things you want.
Tip 5: Don’t be in the dark
It is quite common that one person controls the finances more than another in a partnership but it is important that both people have an idea of what is going on.
I don’t think one person should fully relinquish control. Money is not the be all and end all but it is important. Knowing the value of it is a life skill.
Why should you combine your finances?
Whilst combining your finances may seem like a lot of work, there are a lot of benefits both financially and emotionally from combining your money. By utilising these 5 tips you can make sure that you are both aligned and working towards the same goal. You will soon find that two people working towards something is way better than one.
This post is from our resident Financial Planner Cara Brett, check out her details in the About Us section.
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