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When you get married, it can be tempting to combine all of your finances. Many couples use a joint account into which they pay their wages and their bills. This also makes things easier when children come along and one half of the partnership may be earning less while taking time to look after little ones.
However, rather than close all other accounts, I’m a firm believer in keeping hold of both a current account and savings account in your own name. Have your wages and any other income paid into your own current account and transfer your half of the bills money to the joint account and of course, your partner should do the same.
Having savings and even just a current account in your own name is so important.
Statistics show that around 40% of marriages now end in divorce. While divorce is the last thing you’ll be thinking of when planning your wedding, it is important to protect yourself now.
If a partner doesn’t want you to keep your own account or to have access to your own money then I’d be seriously questioning if they were the right person for me.
Managing your finances as a couple
Talking about money can be difficult, but making sure you’re on the same page is extremely important. If one partner tends to spend more than the other, it’s important that this is done with their own money and not joint money that’s needed for the bills.
- Agree on how much each person contributes to the bills each month whether that’s 50/50 or as a proportion of earnings.
- If one party isn’t earning then agree if they will be paid an Allowance and how this can be spent ie. is it fun money, for personal bills, or both.
- Agree on which bills count as joint and which are personal. For example, mortgage and utilities are generally joint, phone bills and subscriptions would be personal.
- Avoid taking out credit for which you are both responsible. This can cause problems should you choose to separate as one partner can end responsible for the other person’s debt.
- Set up an emergency fund that will cover joint emergencies such as the boiler or washing machine going wrong. You could do this by paying more than you need to into the joint account each month and letting it build up or set up a separate saving account into which you both pay.
Couples Finances – Why You Need a ‘F**k Off’ Fund
Finally, I’m a strong believer in having an ‘F**k Off’ fund. Should you choose to end your relationship, for whatever reason, having a pot of cash set aside will be invaluable in helping you to leave when you feel ready to do so.
It can also help, for example, if you’re struggling with a job you hate. Having money stashed away could allow you to leave work for a short period of time while you pursue your dream job or take a break to improve your mental health.