Commingling Your Finances: When Love and Money Come Together

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Commingling Your Finances: When Love and Money Come Together

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It used to be that when two people decided they loved each other, they got married and opened a joint checking account. But in today's world, there's plenty more to consider.

Dual incomes, living together when you're not married, and supporting a child from a previous relationship are just a few of many situations that can make the "money dance" between couples even more complicated.

I'll leave finding the guy or gal of your dreams to you, but when it's time to bring your money together, here are some tips for each stage of the process.

Commingling Your Finances: When Love and Money Come Together Getting to Know You

When you and your boyfriend or girlfriend move in together (or are spending most of your time together), it's time to start sharing expenses. You'll probably find that most of this comes about naturally--one person always ends up paying for drinks, the other for the cab ride home--but make sure that you keep an open dialogue about how you're spending money as a couple. Ask questions like "How do you feel about the way we split expenses?" and you may find your new partner telling you something like they'd like you to chip in for toilet paper. If you live together, agree on how much each person is going to pay for rent, utilities, and household expenses; and who's responsible for each bill. Splitting all expenses evenly can be an equitable approach to managing joint expenses.

Coming Together

Once you fully trust your partner with your money, you may want to open a joint account for joint expenses. In addition to setting aside money for monthly expenses, set some savings goals like a summer vacation or a new coffee table, and start saving together. Agree on whether you're both going to save the same amount, or the same percentage based on your income, and talk about when you plan on making deposits. You should also decide beforehand when you're going to spend it, and if it's OK for one person to take money out without asking the other (and if so, how much). Again, keeping an open dialogue is key for making sure you can work together to achieve your financial goals!

True Partners

Whether it's through marriage, having kids, or just having been together forever, you may very well find yourself one day thinking of "your" money as what you and your partner bring in together. Make sure both of you have input on your budget, and set a time at least once a year to sit down and talk about your finances without interruption. No matter how much each person brings into the family fund, it's important to remain equals. Allowing for some indulgences can be a smart way to avoid unplanned splurges. Determine an amount each month that you both can spend on personal choice items. Try to make that amount equal in the context of your budget arrangement. Remember that even though you might not agree on what to spend your discretionary money on, you can agree on how much it is! Finally, talk about investments you can make as a couple, and how you can better save for the future of your new family.

What are your secrets for commingling your finances? Let us know by logging in and leaving a comment below.

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Clarky Davis

The Debt Diva The Debt Diva, Clarky Davis has more than five years of experience in the debt management industry and more than 10 years of hard-won personal experience with credit cards and debit cards. She knows a lot about living on a limited income. The money saving tips the Debt Diva offers have all been tested and proven by the glamorous girl herself. She now offers these hard-won insights to others seeking to maximize their tight budgets and deal with debt.

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