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How Millennial Couples can Collaborate on Finances

steward

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Ask your parents how they shared their finances. Years ago this was very straightforward. People got married, and opened a joint bank account right away. A joint bank account is a great way of sharing finances, but millennial couples are a bit different.

 

One of the key differences is that millennials move in together first, and take some time to marry, if ever. Also, they usually carry significant debts on credit cards, student loans and other obligations, which makes sharing finances quite challenging. The result of this is that millennial couples are simply not sharing their finances. It is said that two-thirds of millennial couples do not share finances at all, while all couples considered, this number reduces to 50%. Finances tend to be the number one source of tension in relationships.

 

So, should you combine everything, keep everything separate or partially combine?

 

Should you keep everything separate?

 

Keeping all separate can be quite a difficult choice. As you keep finances separate is easy to fall into judgment of your partners expenses.  - “Why are you eating out in fancy restaurants if you are late on rent? Or, where is the money going? What are is your partner doing? - Keeping finances separate constructs an environment of suspicion and scrutiny. It’s harder to make plans together and even to have conversations that lead to long-term plan and life goals. The mutual support gets weaker with the lack of accountability.

 

Separate accounts though are essential if your partner is an indebted one. That is because creditor can be garnish into your joint account, even if the debt was only from your partner in a different account. Also, we all need privacy. Not necessarily the privacy of hiring gigolos, but on simple things, like buying a gift for your partner.

 

All Together?

 

Keeping everything together makes things simpler. You’re both accountable for joint finances. The financial situation is easier to be understood and the long-term plan becomes more effective. Joint investments, joint credit and cash flow will give you both a solid picture of where you are headed, and the discussion tends to be fruitful and to strengthen the partnership. Is it? Well, it might be too-much-information as well. Maybe your coffee habits will start being scrutinised by your partner, or you may find that the hairdresser is costing much more than it should, but the reality is that we all need the little pleasures in life, and sometimes we need to overspend to be happy. A study conducted observed that 25% of couples with joint finances do financial cheating. Meaning, having a secret account not observable by the other partner. How scary is that?

 

The right approach, partial combination.

 

With so many financial gadgets nowadays, it is very easy to combine finances partially. Set up a joint current account and a joint email account just for the recurring expenses. Include here rent, mortgage, utility bills and your giffgaff bills. Also make a joint savings or investment account where both of you contribute, and join your holiday expenses, travel tickets and other things you want to do together. Keep your separate accounts and credit for your private expenses and for your daily coffee or enjoyment. We all need our privacy, but all couples need long-term planning to enjoy a successful relationship.

 

Conclusion and Gadgets

 

Whichever path you take it is important to share dreams and goals and to understand where your partner is. Helping each other is part of a fruitful relationship, and so is defining what is important for both. Separate, joint or partially combined accounts, all methods work as long as there is transparency, communication and understanding. But the simpler it is to manage, the simpler your joint life will be.

 

You may also use apps and tools which I will cover in a future blog post, to manage your joint finances. One I particularly recommend is Mint. Mint is easy to add income and expenses in different currencies and to set up joint budget accounts. I will cover this app in another blog post.

 

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What about you? Do you join accounts with your partner, keep everything separate of combine partially? What would you do? Tell us your opinion?

 

 


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9 Comments
guide

Interesting blog. How about a joint bank account for all joint expenditure, with you both keep the residual of your income in your own account to do as you please! Simples....eh?

We have never found a joint account necessary. Either you trust the other party, or you should not be involved.

chaperon

Trust,  in a relationship is the key, the main commodity !

Don't have a shared bank account, but we trust each other otherwise it would not be possible for the relationship to work! 

Joint account all the way. Makes it all so much simpler. It all goes in one place and out from one place. Everything earned is 'ours' not 'mine' even though I am the breadwinner.

enigma

There are many variables in a couples decisions pertaining to finances.  Personally in my situation joint accounts still work wonderfully.  However, that is because both of us share the same ideal that marriage is made of two people with common goals.  Still the team thought I guess.  We are a team and as such all earnings flow into the same accounts, as all expenses generally are for the benefit of both.  Having said that, it is very important for each person to have their own credit cards, and there would be no untoward thinking if one person or both opened individual savings account.  We are very committed, and very happy. No thoughts whatsoever of not remaining together till death do us part.

In Millennial marriages, perhaps there are child support issues, alimony issues,  student loans, or possibly large medical bills from before the marriage took place.  That is what I meant about variables.  The majority of people that marry because they love their spouse, all hope to go the distance at least in the beginning.  However, the aforementioned dynamics, could vastly alter thoughts on who is responsible and who should pay previous bills etc.

The bottom line is money can cause a lot of stress on any marriage, each couple must work out the best solution for themselves, with no outside judgement.

contributor

I don't think a joint account is necessarily a "trust" thing as some others seem to suggest. It's just a huge convenience.

 

But I'm a bit confused by what this article is actually saying? At the start you state: "A joint bank account is a great way of sharing finances, but millennial couples are a bit different.". Ok, so "millennial couples are a bit different", what do you suggest? What other options are available? But you don't really suggest anything, other than creating a "joint account" - no change there then? However, you do hint at more... "With so many financial gadgets nowadays, it is very easy to combine finances partially.", but apart from a one-liner about "Mint", this is all left for "another blog post". I expected all of that to be in this blog post!?

newcomer

Having joint finances requires commitment and basic honesty.  This may sound trite but it has worked for us for 50 odd years not without a touch of stress I might add.

 

my parents had a shared bank account. They shared all their money. They were were honest with each other if they took money out and none of them ever denied the other money. I got married in 2015 at the age of 25 to a man who is 37. Before we married we lived together for 6 months before we got married. We opened a joint bank account. It was his idea. I have separated from him now. If I got married again I would not share a bank

account because my ex stopped me having access to money. I have a new boyfriend now and he has no debts but I have loads. He offered to help me pay mine and I told him it’s not his responsibility. I don’t live with my boyfriend atm but if we do we will spilt the bills, we will keep what we have left for ourselves. If the bills are paid and I am left with some money then I don’t care what my partner does with their money. If we was going to eat out we would spilt the bill or pay our own meals. I prefer it that way as my ex spent all his and my money on drinks. 

beginner

Ever since we got engaged, we set up a joint savings account to save for new white goods for when we bought a home. It worked really well and certainly discussed as part of our marriage preparation conversations.

When we got married and moved in together we set up a joint current account for all the household bills. We contributed differently when i changed to part time when the kids came along. It was wonderful knowing that the funds sent from our respective sole accounts into the joint (bills) account covered all the bills,including annual ones like a boiler service. The best thing we did was regularly save because you can bet your bottom dollar that something will crop up, need replacing or future home improvements (if you own your home). We still kept our own accounts from when we started working. Our ethos is really all our money is shared but it's just represented in our accounts tax efficiently as well. I think if you both have similar values on 'pay your bills, save a bit, spend a bit and give some away' it works really well. No nasty surprises when something breaks because the regular saving in the background has been going on. Stood us in good stead for more than 20years. Review when you need to as bills rise or fall and carry on.

I know it's tough to save if the income and expenditure is similar but different people have different views on what is essential spending and wants spending and it's best to have a candid converation