I’m looking to break tradition when it comes to keeping joint finances with my fiance.
I am planning to join my life with someone else — to share a home, food, bills, and a future — but like many couples living on two incomes, I don’t plan on us sharing every dollar with each other.
Traditionally, married couples consolidated their savings into a single account. But from the way I see it, there are some pretty clear disadvantages, only a couple mostly symbolic advantages, and one big disadvantage that sealed my decision.
The disadvantages to joining finances
The problems that come from joining finances have to do with getting penalized twice for the same mistake.
For example, if one of us misses a payment, it can mess up both of our credit scores. If a thief steals either of our credit cards — or finds a way to sign up for a new card as one of us — then it can ruin both of our credit scores as well. If one of us just uses a credit card, it affects both of our utilization ratios.
The same thing would go for bank accounts, investment accounts, and so forth.
The advantages to joining finances
I’ve really only been able to come up with two reasons.
- Convenience. Both of us dumping money into and pulling money out of the same checking account sure would be a lot easier than having to figure out how to jointly pay for things like home expenses.
- Symbolism. Symbolism is important! A high-earning friend in an on-again-off-again, but serious, relationship told me that he wouldn’t even consider a prenuptial agreement because, “You shouldn’t go into a marriage preparing for it to end.”
The way I see it, marriages that aren’t meant to be will still come apart even if you have joint finances.
The one big disadvantage that sealed my decision
Right now, our plan is to have “hers,” “his,” and “ours” accounts.
We’ll use the money in the “ours” account to pay for our day-to-day needs like food and housing, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing all of our money. This isn’t because we have very different views about money. We share very similar goals and dreams; that’s part of how we knew we were right for each other.
To me, this is less about not wanting to share or not caring about symbolism, and more about not wanting to have to justify splurges.
Yes, we will continue to discuss long-term goals and how our current expenses affect them. Once we are married, we will likely enter some financial ventures together — such as taking out a mortgage or deciding to work with a broker, such as Glenmore Investments, to manage wealth down the line.
But one of the best things to me about being a working adult is being financially independent.
Although my fiance has never complained about my spending, and it might sound selfish or superficial, I work hard and if I want to buy myself a new dress or go away for a girls’ weekend, I don’t want to feel like I need anyone’s approval — or worse, feel guilty — for doing it.
Besides, we don’t need a joint account to save together
We’re both still saving for our future — and because it is ours, there is all the more incentive to save toward things we both want so we can celebrate in sharing them together.
So what do you think? Did you go traditional, separate, or something in between?