relationships and finances

I never realized that I found personal finance so interesting until I started following Michelle’s blog, Making Sense of Cents (which I highly recommend reading). I’ve always liked discussing money, budgets, saving, paying off debt and how people manage their own finances. What I’ve found particularly interesting lately is how couples share their money.

Let me start this by saying I have never found money a taboo subject, though I understand it can be for a lot of people. So when I interviewed a bunch of different people for their take on relationships and finances, I did it on the premise that I would keep all of their answers anonymous. As my boyfriend and I have always shared our money, I was shocked when a married friend told me her husband and herself keep their money separate and had their own accounts. That is what inspired this post and for me to do a little research!
original image source: by Yana Ray
I asked my readers three different questions:
1) What kind of relationship are you in (for example common law, married, long-term relationship, etc)?
2) Do you share finances (a simple yes or no answer)?
3) – If yes, why do you prefer to combine your finances and how long into your relationship was it before you decided to combine?
– If kind of, explain how you share/split up at the same time and why you’ve chosen this way.
– If no, how do you keep finances separate but still organize the paying of bills and why have you chosen this way? Do you plan to change this in future or do you like it the way it is?
The results surprised me. I guess I would consider sharing all finances when in a relationship, particularly a marriage, the traditional way of doing things. I was honestly surprised to hear that quite a few people do things differently. Here are some of the resuts I got.
– Some couples share all finances, but keep separate credit cards for secret/private purchases like gifts for eachother.
– A few couples (including my boyfriend and myself) feel they should share their finances seeing as they already share the rest of their lives together. Another point made was that a mutual understanding of purchases is important for sharing finances.
– One couple has separate bank accounts and they each take charge of paying one of their two main bills.
– One married couple separates their money and splits the bills, as they find it easier to put money aside this way. As of now, they plan on keeping it this way for the future.
– One common-law couple said that they don’t share money but do a split of the bills and chores. They don’t plan on changing this, and when the time comes to buy a house they will open a joint account solely for house purposes. They like the freedom of not having to justify each purchase to eachother.
– Another married couple has their own accounts and a joint account. The wife said (and this is exactly what the first person I talked to about not sharing money when married said as well) that “it’s important for us married women to have our own things. My husband provides, don’t get me wrong, but it’s always nice to have my own independence.”
It was so interesting to see how many couples (including married couples) didn’t share bank accounts. They all had their own reasons for this though, and if that is what works, then great! How do you and your partner share finances?


  1. says

    kinda cool! Im one of those rare ones, I have been married for 6 years and both my hubby and I are seperate on all money. No combined anything here. We have our own bills and own accounts and spend our own money as we wish after the bills are taken care of. It works well for us.

  2. says

    my hubbi and i have been married for about 6 months…

    at the time, we have separate accounts and split the bills up.

    however, we are starting the house search and plan to get a joint account for house bills going forward.

    however, i will ALWAYS have my separate account for independence and personal purchases :)

    xo – heather
    This Life Is Yours Blog

  3. says

    THANK YOU for posting this!! I came across she blog a while ago and could not remember the name of it for the life of me.
    My husband and I have separate accounts and split everything 50/50. We JUST got married though and we will be opening a joint account in the near future.
    Mavy May Designs

  4. says

    So funny, we’ve just had the exact discussion at work today! I can see why people want to have their “own” money as well when they have a joint account so you don’t see presents or stuff like that on your bank statements. Sometimes that kind of ruins the fun ;-)

  5. says

    Well my bf and I have been together for a year now and went with a JOINT ACCOUNT. It’s not easy and does cause stress but at the same time it builds trust and communication that wouldn’t be there without it. It’s a bad and good thing but we believe in sharing EVERYTHING. He and I are attached at the hip and can’t do much without the other so it works for us.

  6. says

    So interesting to see how everyone else does it! I def. don’t think there is a right or wrong answer! My husband and I have a joint account as well as separate accounts. We have been doing this since we had our son 5.5 years ago and when we got married two years ago we just kept it that way. He is the one that works and provides for all of our needs, and I work some from home and that is ‘fun money’ which goes in my account. But I use it for my purchases, gifts, extra stuff, fun things for the kids etc. I like having my own money. I joke (but its pretty much true) that ‘his’ money is OURS, and ‘my’ money is mine.

  7. says

    I love this and thanks for letting me participate.

    I was always brought up that money, religion, and politics were taboo. However, I definitely think all of those can be discussed opening with others to a certain extent.

  8. says

    we share bank accounts (except the business account because that is Josh’s business and all the money in there is business money…) but we do this because when we “became one” we believed that meant everything…

  9. says

    Before I had Reagan I was a former Financial Advisor and I got to deal with this every single day!
    I worked inside a bank and I would see people hide stuff from their significant others all the time! It astounded me.
    The first rule of money if you are in a relationship is to talk about it. Hiding things gets you no where fast! It’s totally OK to keep separate accounts and such but when it comes to being serious with someone the last thing you want to do is hide bills, bad spending habits, you name it!

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  10. Bev Feldman says

    I think this is such an interesting subject as well. My husband and I are like the last couple. Since my husband eats out a lot more than I do, he didn’t want me to be responsible for paying for his meals and other things he buys for himself.

  11. Robin says

    I think it is probably a good idea for non-married couples (no offense meant) to keep separate finances. Somethings things turn nasty after break-ups, and there can be a lot of debate over whether something was a “gift”, a “loan”, etc. – regardless of what each person said before.

    My husband and I share everything, though I like the idea of having one account of my own someday. It would be nice to get him birthday/anniversary/no-reason presents without him seeing the charges on the debit card.

  12. Lauren @ The Albrechts Blog says

    My husband and I have been married for 8 months now, and we share everything. We have joint checking and saving accounts, and all of our bills and “fun” purchases come out of those accounts. We both know that sometimes you need to spend a little money for “fun,” and we both feel like we’re “allowed” to do so. Granted, we probably don’t spend more than $150 without consulting one another, just because money doesn’t grow on trees over here;)

    But, we did notice around Christmas time it was hard to keep gifts secret from each other because we both had access to our checking account. So, we just said we weren’t allowed to look! Ha!

    It’s worked out pretty well for us. We like sharing all of our money because, like you said, we share all of our lives together. What he has is mine and what I have is his and we’re happy that way!

  13. says

    interesting! My manfriend and I (who live together) have both a joint account and our own separate ones. We put a set amount of money into the shared account at the beginning of the month and use that for rent and house items. Seems to work for us!

  14. Torrie says

    What an intertesting topic Chelsea! I love hearing about how other people budget and whatnot. We have a joint bank account and pool all our money. We don’t believe having ‘”my” money and “his” money helps us work together as a team. We make almost all our major purchase decisions together but we still have the freedom to make most purchases without the other person’s input. When we just look at any income as ours together, it takes away from any score keeping or feeling entitled to some of it. I’m totally with you on the sharing thing – I share every single other aspect of my life, money included! :)

  15. says

    Technically we have our own accounts BUT because I have zero income as a mama I rely on him for whenever I need things. It can be annoying if he’s at work and has his card with him but I need to go to the supermarket or whatever, so sometimes I think about having a joint account. It doesn’t bother me though because in the bigger picture he’s providing for our family and I’m so lucky that I get to stay at home with my son YAY

  16. Joelle :: Something Charming says

    This is really interesting, actually. I’ve seen it done so many ways, and I think everyone is different. Personally, we got married so young that we were just establishing ourselves financially, and we were often helping each other with bills, etc. anyway. It only made sense to combine our accounts when we got married :)

    Thanks for sharing! Definitely gives me something to think about today…


  17. Michelle Carter says

    Old school here!!! We merged our finances like the day we got back from our honeymoon! I’m a SAHM and he works so it makes sense for us. I do managed the bills and budget because I have the time but everything is an open book for us. And neither of us feel we need to hide anything or that we lack independence. It’s all about open communication. If we need something or want something. It’s not a problem as long as its in our budget!

  18. Laura:: says

    so husband and i have been married for 3 years in march. We have a joint account where both paychecks are deposited. We pay all bills and put money in savings from there – we each have separate accounts where we each are allotted a monthly spending “allowance” which is a specific amount we have both agreed on. this money can be saved or spent without question. this is perfect for us because money isn’t taboo, we have some pretty hefty joint goals for our finances and it helps us track the money. it works for us!

  19. Richelle Lynn Garn says

    Hi love. I guess I didn’t realize how many people have such different takes on their finances. I am so reluctant to share anything about our finances due to the prying noses of others but Jared and I have always really done this traditionally. Both of us putting our funds in a joint account. Just makes things easier.

  20. Sarah Brooke says

    This is a good post! Definitely something to think about. My boyfriend and I don’t share our money now but we plan it having one joint account once we are married.

    I fall on the traditional side of the fence when it comes to this. I agree with Bree – share everything, no secrets.

  21. Olithée says

    very interesting
    guess it depends the way you were raised i mean your parents were or are
    mentality yep ! In my case two different accounts not married but living together for 7 years and sharing every cent !

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