Couples Finances Part 2 – Ways to Manage Money As A Couple
Now that you are starting to talk about money you will need to pick a system for managing your money. When it comes to handling money in a relationship there are a bunch of different ways you can do it. In the end, both of you need to come to an arrangement of some sorts. There are 3 Big ways to manage your money. Inside of those 3 ways there are a ton of different ways to handle it. Today we will just look at the different ways a couple can handle their finances together.
The Different Ways to Manage Money as a Couple
There are really only a few ways to do money as a couple. Within those ways there are a whole lotta varieties.
Combined – “One Account, One Life”
This is the old school married version that we all here about. It’s also what my wife and I started to do when we were married . You have one main account. Both of your income (and any other income) goes into this account and this is what you use to pay your debts and expenses. Within this you can have systems for saving and paying things off but the way it goes is pretty basic. The two of you have everything joined and what you both earn is both of yours. This is pretty common for some people. Others I know have managed for years as a couple never doing this.
Pooled – “Yours, Mine, Ours”
A pooled system is pretty straight forward too. Each couple puts a certain amount of their own money into the one account that handles all of the joint expenses. Then that account is used to pay the common bills. Common bills are things such as rent, mortgage, insurance, property taxes, food, gas, electricity and whatever else the two of you decide as a couple.
The money that doesn’t go into the pooled account is yours (and theirs) to keep for themselves. This is pretty popular with new couples and there are a lot of joint venture businesses that work the same way. It can also be called “Yours, Mine, Ours” plan. I don’t see any harm in this as long as it’s mutually agreed upon. Things to consider with this method is when you have a child. How does that work? What if one of you is off of work for an extended amount of time? What if the refrigerator break? What if there is a major repair needed to your place?
In the beginning this will make sense, but as time goes on just know that the arrangement will most likely change and evolve. Just like any relationship.
Separate – “What I earn is mine. What you earn is yours”
I see a lot of couple start out this way too. They have the rule, “What I earn is mine, What you earn is yours”. Seems to make sense when you are starting out. The challenges come up when you are moving in together. Buying furniture, groceries are all separate. This is my couch, that’s your yogurt. It’s basically a roommate. Not a bad way to start out. So many couples and marriages split that it’s a good way to start. Consider a trial run financially. That way you can see how they run their money life.
Time to Chose
One of these systems will fit your lifestyle and situation better than others. The right one for you is a very personal decision. Once you have decided which method you are going to use you will need to come up with a system. We will cover this on Monday in the next post.
If you are looking to start becoming a better money couple I would recommend you check out our eGuide “A Couple Guide To Money”. It’s will walk you through the steps that you need to cover to be better with your finances as a couple.