First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a joint bank account.
Many think that by the time the wedding bells are finished ringing, you and your partner need to have your financial future mapped out until retirement. Traditionally, couples seal the deal with a financial union of a joint bank account, but this option is not mandatory.
Many couples find separate accounts to be an even more attractive option to keep their financial independence.
There’s a common notion that having separate accounts while married is similar to that of a prenup, in that, it’s a safety net just in case of a divorce. However, most couples aren’t keeping their finances separate in case of conflict, but rather to avoid conflict. Couples who fight over money can agree that removing that conversation from their daily lives would alleviate stress.
If you’re wondering how to make separate accounts while being married work, we have tips that will help you navigate this financial journey.
Decide What Expenses You’re Sharing
First and foremost, you must decide what expenses you will be sharing. Are you splitting rent, car payments, cable bills, or groceries? You want to nail down the exact payments you both feel comfortable with making every month.
This will get you both on the same page and feel organized when handling your money.
Many couples like to go with the separate but equal approach. This method entails that both partners pay equally for household expenses regardless of salary. However, their personal spendings are separate from each others. Many like this approach because it allows them to be on equal playing fields while also keeping certain finances separate.
Some couples prefer to take an approach that is more proportional in their eyes like the percentage approach. This entails that whatever percentage of the income you are making is what you are paying. If one partner is making 30% of the income then they only have to contribute to 30% of the expense. For many couples, this is a fair way to go about finances and solve the income gap issues.
Every partnership is different and you have to find the best method that works for you.
Decide on a Savings Plan
Now that you have laid out who is paying for what, it’s time to discuss savings. Savings can become quite complicated when you have separate accounts with your partner. What do you do if you want to save for a major purchase together?
It’s important to think ahead to future goals you might have and want to start saving for. You can decide how much you each want to save separately in order to meet your goals. This way you have a sense of independence and you can keep those personal aspirations outside of your relationship goals.
There are a lot of ways for married couples to save in an efficient and simple way. Whether you are using the Starve & Stack method or a snowball plan, there are highly effective ways to reach your goals both separately and as a couple.
Talk about money regularly
Even though you won’t be sharing accounts, it’s still important to have an open line of communication about your finances. This conversation is one of the least glamorous parts of being in a relationship. Money talk can lead to arguments that no one wants to deal with. Because of this, most couples avoid this conversation at all costs.
But it is extremely important to have a sit down conversation about money and finances especially when you may not know what your partners situation is like.
Use this agenda to guide your next money conversation.
Decide on long and short term financial goals
As a married couple, it’s important to talk through your goals. Before you dive deep into budget plans, bank accounts, and other financial topics, you need to get clear on where you want to go. Think about where you want to be in the next 1, 5, 10, etc. years.
Do you see yourselves moving? Switching careers? Having kids? Buying a house? Retiring at the beach?
Your goals as a couple will affect all of your financial decisions going forward. Having this discussion makes managing finances easier because you know you are on the same page about where you want to be.
These are just a few ways to help married couples manage their separate accounts. It may not be the traditional method, but it most certainly can benefit both you and your spouse. Not married yet? Take a look at out Budgeting Guide for Unmarried Couples