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“What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine,” goes an oft-repeated joke about cohabitation and marriage. As we know, though, there’s an element of truth to every joke, at least if it’s a good one.

How should couples manage their finances without losing themselves? A popular question we get is should couples combine their assets. Our money and income often represent our independence and personal power. Are they lost when a couple combines their assets?

Our Financial Partnership

When we first moved in together and before we acknowledged that we were financial messes, we immediately combined our assets. We did this for simplicity and no other reason. Like Madonna in Evita, we’re simple people.

We each maintained a personal bank account in which a small portion of our regular paychecks went and from which we spent as we wished. The rest of our paychecks went into a joint account to pay our bills and to funnel towards our mutual financial goals. We didn’t and still don’t have opposing or unique financial goals. We’ve very much on the same page financially. Simple.

We recently changed banks and decided the individual accounts were no longer needed, so now we have one joint checking account and one joint savings account. We’re playing fast and loose with the word “savings.”

For us, combining our assets has never been a problem. Neither of us feels shackled or supervised. In fact, we prefer to manage all of our finances together, paying bills, choosing and fulfilling financial goals and monitoring our investments together. We feel a certain amount of our financial success is this financial partnership of ours. (You can monitor your financial goals like building good credit for free on Credit.com.)

Financial Infidelity

We have several close friends and acquaintances, however, that don’t combine their assets. In some cases, one partner earns more than the other. For some, it’s independence, freedom and personal control. For others, both partners don’t share the same financial philosophy or, even, financial self control.

Having pondered this and once having an opinion, we now take the Switzerland approach and think it ultimately comes down to transparency. No matter how you manage your money in your relationship, it’s imperative to have transparency and for each partner to have an understanding of the finances.

We believe this for two reasons. The first is that if one or both parties in a relationship are hiding something from the other, there are underlying issues that should be addressed for the sake of the relationship.

The second reason we believe this is because it isn’t fair for one partner to be left in the dark about the finances, especially if anything unfortunate happens. Knowing where the money is, what bills must be paid and when or how to access the money, etc. are all important pieces of information of which both partners should be aware.

Being in the dark can create confusion, anxiety or distrust. These aren’t healthy emotions for healthy relationships. So, manage your finances in whatever way works best for you, but be open and honest about them.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

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