By now, you may have noticed that I mention my boyfriend, Austin, pretty often in talking about my/our finances.
Last night my newly married sister was filling me in on others comments since her new status as married. Most are, “When are the kids coming?” to which her response is “Uh, not anytime soon.” The second question is “What is different between you two now?” to which her response is “Nothing” (they have been together/living together for 5 years). And the third question following is “But you have your finances together now right?” to which her response is “We have always had our finances together.”
Of course in the beginning stages they did not. But when they moved in together, they began to plan their finances and budget together.
From conversations I have had with friends, I see people are incredibly intimidated, and turned off by the idea of sharing finances with your significant other before marriage. Although, young people seem to be more likely to do so now a days. However, I want to share my PERSONAL (once again, I must stress it is my personal opinion) stance on the subject.
Sharing your finances is a big commitment. I agree. But when you decide that you are committing to the relationship, and especially when you are deciding to move in together (another way that you commit yourself), joining your finances and setting goals together can strengthen your relationship.
Ofcourse, every couple is unique. Forbes gives some advice on what works according to six different couples.
What works for us?
Talking about how much effort we expect form one another in contributing the most we can to our finances without stressing ourselves out.
Having a small allowance for each of us to do with whatever we please. It is nice to not record and report every dollar to one another sometimes.
I handle most of the finances, but I make sure he is included in where the money is going (considering half is his).
Talking about what happens if we had to break up. Reality is that the possibility is always there, and it must be talked about. In this conversation we talk about how much of the finances would go to each of us. Is it half and half? Or is one of us contributing a significant amount more than the other? We try to give credit where credit is due.
Lastly, TALKING and COMMUNICATING. Letting your significant other know if and when something is bothering you about your finances is key. Don’t forget to tell them what pleases you about your finances too. Here are some tips on having those dreaded “money talks“.
Ultimately, if you are committed to your significant other, waiting for marriage to combine your finances seems a bit old-fashioned to me. I want to know how you handle your money, and agree to be on he same page before planning a $15,000 wedding, or buy a new home.