Couple’s finances is a topic that gets people pretty fired up. Everyone has different opinions on how best to do things, which are often based on their own previous experiences either in a couple or perhaps witnessing parents or friends go through messy financial partnerships.
Ultimately how you handle your money as a couple is up to you, but we choose not to fully combine our finances. We have shared savings that sits in our offset account, and our mortgage is in both of our names. Other than that, we keep things separate. We get our salaries paid into our own accounts, deposit mortgage and bills payments into our offset account, and do the rest solo. Here’s why.
Our salaries are similar
Right now, we earn very similar salaries. I earn $66,000, and my boyfriend earns $70,000. Throughout our six and a half year relationship, we’ve earned similar amounts, usually within about $5K of each other. We’re the same age and have been out of uni a similar amount of time, so as we’re both in office roles, we’ve been on similar salaries throughout our progression from entry level to somewhat more senior positions.
If we got our salaries paid into the same account and then split it, we’d be right back where we started. We find it easier to just have our own spending money, and take it in turns to pay for things that are for us both. If it’s a big thing, we’ll use joint savings. We’re both kinda of the mindset that it all works out in the end. We’re in it for life, so while we don’t pay for things out of the same account, I feel like we actually have a higher level of mutual financial respect, because we see everything as ‘ours’, regardless of the bank account it’s in.
We wholeheartedly trust each other
Now I’m not saying that those who do combine finances don’t trust each other. I’m simply addressing that we are practically one person, just with two separate bank accounts. We’re very open about our spending, we talk about what we’ve spent and what our budgets look like, and I don’t feel any compulsion to see his transactions or vice versa.
If you have an open financial dialogue in your relationship, I see no need to share finances if you’re both earning – unless you want to.
My side businesses
Another big reason is that I have extra income from side businesses, but this can’t be treated the same as my salary. Side businesses carry tax obligations, need money reinvested back in, and have their own set of expenses. I use money I’ve made from my side businesses on things for both of us, and top up our joint savings from time to time, too. But being completely honest, that money also goes to things that are just for me. After all, I’m the one working nights and weekends to earn it! It’s not from a selfish place – ultimately I consider all our assets as ours together, I just maintain control of that side income right now.
Combining finances is very traditional
Ok, here’s where it gets a bit controversial. Don’t @ me. I personally feel like the notion that couples should combine their finances as soon as things get serious (or that they’re not fully committed until they do) is outdated. In the past, couples had to combine their finances because the man was generally the sole income earner. Women couldn’t have their own bank accounts to start with, and even when they could, they had to have the signed approval of a man. Nowadays, the world is set up for women and men to manage their money themselves.
When both partners are working and earning similar amounts, there is no need to combine unless you feel you want to. Ultimately it’s up to you as a couple, but I do think a lot of people combine because it’s the ‘done thing’. If you’re worried about your partner’s spending, or you feel you need to see their transactions, there may be something to work through there that runs a little deeper than money.
Will we combine in the future?
People say to me things like, ‘all very well until you have kids’, when I talk about separate finances. I get that. I imagine we’ll absolutely combine incomes once we have kids, but that’ll be because one of us will be earning the majority of the income, I expect. And that’s when it’ll make sense for us.
Likewise, if one of us ends up with a salary that’s substantially higher than the other’s, then yes again, we may combine so we can leverage the higher total household income to better manage our money.
We’re currently not married, but when we do marry I don’t expect we’ll combine then, either. Some say it’s an important step in your commitment to each other, but soz Sandra, I kinda think moving across the globe was a fair indication that we’re in it for life. You can be financially committed without fully combined finances.
I’m not saying we’ll have separate finances forever, but right now, there is no need for us. It works better this way. We’re open and honest about money, don’t have any financial skeletons in our closets, and we find that managing our money separately better suits our personalities and spending styles.
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