While some may think that having separate finances puts a marriage on the fast track to divorce — cough, Dave Ramsey, cough — my fiance and I are planning to keep ours mostly apart when we get married in December. Since we are already living together and splitting finances, we simply decided to continue our hybrid method of joint finances when it becomes official: hers, his, ours. We each have our own checking, savings and retirement accounts, as well as a joint checking and joint savings account.
We aren’t alone, either: TD Bank’s 2017 Love and Money Survey found that 51 percent of the couples surveyed combined all their finances, while 34 percent each have their own and 15 percent didn’t share money at all. Welcome to millennial money relationships.
With our hybrid approach, my fiance and I each contribute a set amount of money per month to the joint checking and joint savings accounts. This money is then used to pay all of our joint bills — rent, utilities, groceries, puppy costs, etc. — and fund our joint savings goal, which is currently an emergency fund for the two of us. From there, any extra money we make during the month remains ours to control.
From a “joint” perspective, we did divide up the percentage contribution by income, so it’s not a 50/50 split like roommates, but this works for us since most roommates probably don’t split all of their groceries either. In our case, it’s currently a 60/40 split, but we adjust the percentages each year.
We’ve loved using this hybrid approach as a cohabiting couple because it means we can each contribute to our life together in a meaningful way, but we also get to spend our money how we want to and we never fight about money as a result. When my fiance came home with a new gaming console, paid for out of his own money, I was happy for him, and not at all concerned that it would mean I’d have to cough up more for rent. Ditto to me buying some new clothes for work. We spend our own money on things that only benefit ourselves, and we spend our joint money on things for both of us.
We also like the security separate finances brings to each of us. If something were to happen to one of us, we both know the other partner would have all of their own money easily accessible, along with the joint account funds. And if our relationship were to end, splitting up our assets would be even easier — we’re both lawyers so this kind of unromantic thinking is extremely necessary for us.
We still talk about our finances together — adjusting our joint budget, making sure our bills are on auto-pay, discussing our joint savings goal — and we still make big financial decisions as a couple, like if and when we buy a house. We are just able to have our own day-to-day expenses apart from one another, too. Keeping most of our finances separate allows us to feel free to spend our money however we want, meaning we are never resentful toward each other about how our money is spent.
For richer or for poorer, mostly separate accounts keeps us from fighting over money.
Click through to read about tax tips every married couple needs to know.
More From Our Smart Money Squad
- The Money Lessons I Learned From Calling Off My Wedding
- I Insisted on Seeing My Boyfriend’s Credit Report Before Getting Married — and You Should Too
- Money Questions I Want Answered Before ‘Debt Do Us Part’
We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.