Whether you’ve recently moved in with your significant other, you’re a newlywed or you’ve been married for a long time, you know living with someone means you have shared financial responsibilities. How you manage your money is a personal decision, but for some people, the best thing to do is to combine bank accounts as part of a lifelong relationship commitment. Here are some common signs you could benefit from shared finances:
1. You Split All the Bills
Look at your household expenses: When the bills come, do you each pay half? If you’re constantly doing the two-step dance of keeping your bills current — you pay the electric company, your partner pays you — it might be in your best interest to open a joint account for communal expenses, to which you both contribute your pay.
2. You’re Constantly Paying Each Other Back for Stuff
The “who’s getting the check?” game is awkward enough when you’re dating — do you still want to worry about who’s picking up the tab when you’re married? If you’re tired of figuring out whose turn it is, who owes whom what or reminding your significant other, “Hey, you owe me $20 for last Friday’s dinner,” pooling your resources could be a perfect solution.
3. You Want Things to Be ‘Ours’
It’s unlikely you and your partner make exactly the same amount of money, which might make going 50/50 on everyday costs much more of a burden on one partner. Combining finances doesn’t always solve the tension around income inequity, but it might make it easier for the couple to view joint purchases as something they truly share.
4. One Person Likes Managing Money
For as many people there are who love budgeting, there are just as many who loathe it. If you’re lucky, at least one person in a couple enjoys this necessary practice, which is generally easier when there are fewer accounts to keep track of. Just because you have joint finances and one financial manager doesn’t mean the other person should be excluded from decision-making, however. It’s important to maintain an open, honest dialogue about family finances, even if you never want to be the person setting up automatic payments.
Even if you merge your checking and savings accounts, remember that your credit stays separate. You should both continue to monitor your credit (you can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com) and check your free annual credit reports, so you can maintain good scores and watch out for signs of identity theft.
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