Money is the No. 1 reason couples say they fight, according to financial news service Bloomberg. It is also one of the top reasons couples divorce. Although money is often a sensitive topic, you and your significant other must address how you plan to divide money to avoid future conflicts. With a clear plan, you can ease the uncertainty and stress about money issues that might arise.
Finances can become complicated by a previous marriage, child support, mortgage debt or student loans. Maybe your partner is notorious for not keeping track of his spending, but you are adamant about balancing your checkbook and saving. Sometimes separate accounts are the safest option for couples.
Separate Plus Joint
Couples also can each maintain a separate account and set up a joint account for bills and household expenses. Having separate accounts allows you to maintain your financial independence, while the joint account ensures you both contribute to the bills. Benefits include shared financial responsibility, spending privacy, clear individual spending boundaries, and eliminating the need to talk about finances regularly.
Determining how much each person should contribute to household expenses is another issue you must address. An equal split might work for some couples. However, if one half earns more than the other, one person might be in the hole each month. An option for couples with uneven incomes is a bill ratio. For example, if you earn $50,000 annually and your partner earns $100,000, pay expenses using a one to two ratio. You would pay one third of each bill. You also can assign the monthly bills. One person is responsible for the mortgage, for example, while the other pays the utilities.
Couples have different beliefs when it comes to dividing assets. Problems can occur if you and your partner don't share the same opinions or approaches when it comes to money. If you are married and live in a community property state, half of each spouse's income is owned by the other. Regardless of whether you choose to keep certain funds separate, state laws might view it as common property. Communication is key to a successful relationship. Discuss financial matters openly and honestly to avoid conflict and a potential breakup.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.