Finding the right money management system for you and yours doesn’t need to be hard. But it does demand good communication, acknowledgement of each others attitudes and approaches to money and of course, systems. For some couples, keeping everything combined works like clockwork whereas for others, the thought of not maintaining separate accounts produces a cold sweat.

There is no right or wrong way – the only thing that matters is that it works for you both. This month, we had a chat with three women about their money-love strategies:

Natalie, 35, Freelance writer

“My husband and I met travelling so pretty much combined our accounts from the start. We have similar spending habits (as in we like to spend) so this has never caused any friction.”

“We’ve also often relied on the other for income. For example, when my husband was studying I was the sole income earner and when I was home with children or between jobs it was on his shoulders.”

“We’ve discussed each having a personal account that we can use for our own spending and for gifts, but we’ve never got around to it.”

“I do think though that this option only works for couples with similar spending habits and who don’t keep tabs on who’s spending what.”

Tina, 41 Mortgage Broker “I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of combining all of my finances with my partner. It’s nothing to do with how I feel about him – it’s about how I feel about my independence and control over my own money.”

“We have a house together and with it the usual bevvy of bills, mortgage payments and up-keep. We split the costs down the middle: he pays his share and I do the same – from our own accounts.”

‘We’ve talked in the past about accounting for differences in income – for example, when I was setting up my business cashflow was quite tight for a while. But in the end we decided that splitting things down the middle worked best for us. It felt clearer.

“Managing money like this might not be the romantic picture of partnership we grow up envisaging, but for me and importantly also for Scott, it suits our needs. I like to know exactly where I am financially and doing it this way means we can share in our home (and asset) as well as retaining the independence we need too.”

Sophie, 29 Teacher “Combining our accounts was a really big step for both of us, so we decided to retain a little independence as well. It seemed the easiest solution to have a couple accounts together – one for saving and one for expenses – so we could maximise two incomes, but Josh and I were both pretty reluctant to lump everything together – all of our spending and money.”

“It’s funny looking back at it, because neither of us wanted to be the first one to own up to the fact that we wanted to keep some separation in our money. I mean, aren’t you supposed to just have it all combined if you really love them? That’s what I was thinking anyway until we talked about it and realised that there is nothing wrong with sharing a lot of things, but keeping some independence too.”

“In the end, we decided to have a joint savings account – we’re saving for a house – and a joint expenses account for things like the bills, groceries etc. We both transfer money into each of these accounts and use our own accounts for entertainment and other bits and pieces.”

“It works for us. We have just the right amount of ‘shared’ in the mix as well as the freedom to spend our money on things we personally want to.”

Susan Jackson, founder of ms money, says talking is the all important ingredient. “It is easy to assume that your partner views money the way you do, but in many cases, it’s just not true. Couples that invest the time in understanding each other’s money personalities are the ones that have fiscal harmony at home.”

 

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