The majority of people in long term relationships who are looking to either move in together or get married typically contemplate combining their finances. There are arguments for and against mixing finances, with some staunchly in favor of it and others totally against it. Whatever you decide to do will depend entirely on your personal circumstances, your future goals and the nature of your relationship, but if you are thinking about combining your finances, it’s not quite as simple as just putting all your money into one bank account.
There are steps you will need to take before you set about combining your incomes, both to protect your personal interests should the worst happen, and to ensure the joining of two incomes is as smooth and beneficial to each party as is possible. Consider the following tips before you mix money with your significant other.
Why are you combining your finances?
Before you commit to taking the leap into joint money, ask yourself why you are looking to combine your money in the first place. For most people, it’s because they intend on moving house and living together. This is a natural next step in long-term relationships, and for the longest time it’s been an unspoken tradition that when you live together you automatically mix your money.
Another common reason people combine their finances is because they intend on getting married and want a joint bank account for legal reasons. Those who are starting a business might also combine their finances into a single business account.
If you’re in a brand new relationship or friendship, do not combine your finances as you don’t need to.
Do you need to combine finances?
Mixing two incomes into one makes sense for those who are going to be living together and want to pay for bills equally. By setting up a joint account you’ll be able to see exactly where your money is going and rest easy knowing that you’re not paying more than you need to into your significant other’s account.
If one of you earns considerably more than the other and wants to take on more of the bills independently, you may not need to combine your finances since only one of you will be contributing to specific payments.
Despite the ease for those who are sharing bills, just because you live together or are married, it does not mean that you have to mix your money. If you can work out a fair solution that works for both parties, do that instead.
The best way to combine finances
Mixing money isn’t quite as simple as just putting all your money into a single account, nor should you immediately go about putting all your earnings into an account.
The best way to combine your finances is to have a solo bank account that your wages go into, and then a joint account for bills. It’s a good idea to set up a standing order from your own account to the joint account for bill money, but it’s always good to have your own money in your own account that only you can access.
When you do combine your money, you need to consider what it will pay for. For example, are you happy for your partner’s personal expenses like a phone bill to come out of the joint account? Would you rather solo obligations like giving Zakat over the last 10 nights of Ramadan come from your own bank account instead of the joint one? These are questions you will need to ask before you pool your money together.
You will also need to ask whether you both want to contribute to a joint savings account in case there’s a house issue or a holiday that you need to cover.
It’s always good to have a back up plan in case things go awry. Too often, people are left high and dry after mixing their money and things begin to go downhill. This is why it’s important not to combine all of your money, but it’s also a reason to draw up a signed paper document (a contract of sorts) explaining who the money in the joint account belongs to and what it is to be used for. It’s also worth adding in a clause about how the money will be split should the worst happen.
This will protect both you and your significant other in the event of a breakup.
Hopefully these tips have helped you feel more confident about mixing your income with your partner’s.