When you're in a committed relationship, many facets of your life become shared, but your finances don't have to be one of them.
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When you’re involved with a romantic partner, you join many aspects of your life -- but do you have to join your finances? Many people do co-mingle their money with their partners, but this isn’t necessarily the right approach for every couple. In fact, there are some really good reasons to keep separate financial lives even if you are seriously involved, cohabitating, or married.
Here are four of those reasons why keeping your money separate may be the right thing for you.
1. You’ll likely fight less about money
Money fights are a leading source of stress for couples, especially when the two members of the couple have different saving or spending priorities. If you keep your money separate, you can reduce these fights significantly because you can do largely what you want with your money and your partner can too. Your partner won’t see how much you’re spending on video games or shoes and get mad, and you won’t feel like you have to ask permission to buy the things you want.
2. You’ll maintain your financial independence
Often when couples combine finances, one person takes over money management tasks and the other shakes off that responsibility. This can be a big problem in the event of death, serious illness, or divorce.
If both members of a couple continue to manage their own money, each will need to stay on top of things such as paying bills on time and saving for retirement. You’ll also each have money of your own in case the relationship doesn’t last for any reason.
3. You can more easily manage pre-existing obligations
It’s common for people to come into a marriage with big financial obligations, such as children from a prior relationship, tons of student debt, or a business they’ve started and are sinking cash into.
If you keep your money separate, you can more easily handle paying bills associated with these pre-existing obligations on your own without your partner feeling obligated to assume a ton of new financial responsibility.
4. You’ll need to communicate more about money
Ironically, when you keep your money separate, you’ll likely need to talk more -- and more effectively -- about how you’ll handle your joint financial life. That’s because you’ll need to make decisions together about how to share expenses, how different bills will be handled, and what you can afford.
While a couple with combined finances may fight about not having enough spare cash in the bank account to go on vacation, when you’ve kept finances separate, you’ll have to talk early about what vacations you want to take, what you can each afford, and how much you’ll each contribute. This is just one of many decisions you’ll need to have an open conversation about.
By talking more about how you each will contribute to joint money goals, you can develop a strong dialogue and still accomplish things together even with your money kept separate.
Talk to your partner about whether combining finances makes sense for you
Ultimately, only you can determine whether it makes sense for you to combine finances or whether keeping your money separately is the right approach. The best thing to do is to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about how you want to manage money so you can both get on the same page with whatever you decide.