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Couples and money: Joint or separate accounts?

When you’re living closely with someone and your lives become increasingly intertwined, it makes sense that your money meshes together, too. But “all in” isn’t something that works for everyone.

Here are some key ways you could manage your money as a couple, depending on your circumstances.

Joint account

If you’re coming into a relationship with pretty similar financial circumstances, clear shared expectations and goals, you might choose to lump all your money together in a joint account.

The benefit of this is it’s very easy – there’s no longer “mine” or “yours”, it’s just all “ours”. It’s helpful if you’re saving for a big goal together to have all your money in one place.

But there can be drawbacks, particularly if one of you is a major saver and the other likes to splash out from time to time; or if one has commitments outside the relationship that they need to devote money to.

Separate accounts

The opposite of this approach is to keep your money totally separate. The key drawback with this option is that you still need to find a way to manage shared expenses.

Some people who keep their money separate agree they’ll pay a portion of shared bills according to their income. So, if they earn 40 per cent of the total relationship income, they’ll pay 40 per cent of the bills, while the partner picks up the rest.

Others divide the bills in half, or separate it out so that one person pays for electricity and one for the broadband, for example.

If you’re keeping things separate, it’s helpful to check in every so often to make sure that the arrangement still feels fair to everyone.

A bit of both

Some couples find that a happy middle ground is to have a joint account, but separate accounts, too. Sometimes this works by having all income put into the joint account first, to cover shared bills and savings goals, and then a separate, pre-agreed, amount funneled off to individual accounts for each person to spend as they need to from there.

This can be a good compromise, particularly if you have different money personalities.

Whatever you do, keep the lines of communication open. Money can be a stressor, but it doesn’t need to be. If you make it a normal part of your conversations and something you check in regularly, you may help each other hit your goals.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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