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What’s the best way to manage money in a relationship?

What’s the best strategy regarding money and expenses management in a relationship?

Do you have a couple account and each one contributes with a value or percentage or their income ? Divide the bills according to incomes ?

And regarding joint activies how do you decide who pays what ?

Just want to know the best way to go with my SO.

Appreciate your inputs, thanks!

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21 Comments

  1. Wife and I completely share finances. I’ve found this best and don’t understand why so many do it differently.

    Among the friends I know well, those with separate finances tend to have one who overspends and insists on separate accounts so they don’t get called out. That’s not best for the couple though.

  2. I’d split expenditures and have them on a shared account with automatic transfer to cover 50% of expenditures + savings.

    I’d want to keep most of my economic freedom/autonomy even in a relationship.

  3. All the money goes in one pile and all the spending comes out of that one pile.

    If necessary, a portion of the spending can be an “allowance” (or whatever you want to call it) that each person can do whatever they want with without input or care from the other person.

  4. We have one account. All the money goes there. It’s not money, its not her money, it’s our family’s money. We have plans and try to save, and any major expenditures are discussed and planned for well in advance.

  5. The best way is whatever works for your relationship.

    For us, all our after tax income goes into the joint account. From there we split it out into after tax savings and investments, and pay all bills and expenses. At the end of the month, we can pay ourselves a discretionary allowance into our separate accounts for fun money.

  6. Keep everything separate for the most part. And if you two want to you can have a shared account for vacations or anything big. Just have like 50 dollars out of each of your paychecks go into it and you both can see all activity in the account. No drama or anything like that. And if you spilt just do it 50/50. Honestly I think whoever makes more should do rent/mortgage and the other person pays the rest.

  7. I feel that’s something that you should discuss with her.

    For us, we will have a joint account for bills after marriage, where we contribute part of our income to. But we will still have our own accounts for private use.

  8. I know alot of people don’t do this, but my wife in I just 100% share all finances. We have joint accounts and are co-owners of our car and house. It’s alot easier to budget and plan that way. When we were dating we took turns as to who paid when we went out, and we both spent whatever amounts of our own money that we wanted.

    Now we both will check with the other person before making big purchases, and don’t make big purchases unless we both agree.

  9. My parents who recently separated after ~35 years of marriage always had a joint account. Growing up, I could experience how this system constantly led to bitter arguments and bickering. While my mom earned less than my dad, she is a far more frugal person. For her, being stingy and saving money is almost a religion. Meanwhile, my dad is the complete opposite. He’s rather bad at handling money and constantly overspends. As you can imagine, this produced a ton of fights. My mom wanted to save money for long-term goals but my dad wasn’t willing to live a monk’s lifestyle. Compromises were almost impossible.

    Having experienced this as a child and teenager, I’m very cautious about the idea of a joint bank account. Ironically, I think it would work much better for my wife and me because we’re far more similar than my parents. But still… there’s something that bothers me about the idea.

    Instead, we each have our separate bank accounts. Since neither of us has a lot of money, we’ve never agreed on a strict rule as to who should pay how much. We’ve got a loose agreement that – very roughly speaking – each person should contribute around 50%. However, in reality our relationship is really more like Communism in this regard – from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. We both contribute as much as we can and take as much as we need. For my parents, this kind of system would have never worked but fortunately, it works quite well for my wife and me.

    Until now, I used to have a little more money than my wife, so I often insisted on paying 60-70%. I also buy small things for her every now and then, such as ice cream or a cup of coffee when we’re out together. My wife wouldn’t buy these things by herself because she lacks the money to do so. So it feels really nice whenever I can make her happy in this way.

    That said, my financial situation is currently changing for the much worse. I’m disabled and so far I’ve been getting a little bit of money from the government. However, in my country, disabled people aren’t actually entitled to any benefits. You get them for a few years and after that you’ve gotta figure things out on your own. The government now wants to take away my benefits. Finding a job will be very hard and even if I find one, it’ll probably take me a long time. This means I’ll most likely be dependent on my wife. I’ve got a bit of savings but I won’t be able to invite my wife for ice cream or coffee anymore because I need to stretch out that money as long as I can for food, rent etc. So the situation may now reverse, so that she’ll end up helping me out and paying a little more than 50%.

  10. Each of you should have your own bank accounts.

    You should have a joint account that both of you deposit money into, and can pay expenses out of.

    If your respective incomes are fairly close, a 50/50 split is fine. If one person has a significantly higher net income, then you go with “whoever picks, pays (weighted)”. If she earns $150k and you earn $75, for example, then if she picks the vacation, she pays for 2/3rds of it (her income vs. yours). If you pick a vacation, it’s a 50/50 split. This lets the person who earns more money not feel taken advantage of by a partner picking extravagant things, but also lets the higher earner choose extravagant things if they’re comfortable paying more. For smaller stuff (like dining out or going to a show), it’s just “whoever picks, pays”. If you don’t feel like making dinner and would rather eat out, you pick up the tab.

    It’s also good to have a budget or an estimate for all **shared** costs. Rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, streaming services, etc. all feel like costs that you two should share. Her budget for clothing, your budget for beer, all that comes out of your individual accounts, and don’t belong in that budget. Figure out the total shared costs, and put your half of that money into the joint account, along with them doing the same.

  11. My wife makes more than me. I make about 32k she makes 42k. We split rent and bills down the middle. However, she does the heavy lifting when it comes to going out to eat or the kids needing something. I help when i can.

  12. Make enough money for it to not matter.

    More seriously, we pool finances because kids are involved and our life choices are influenced by each other. Consciously recognising this is itself quite liberating and removes one of the major sources of strife in relationships – what money belongs to who – and sets the philosophy for all other money related topics. It has worked well for us because we both have sufficient income to not be totally dependent on the other if we want to buy something, are both mostly sensible with money so can trust each other, and don’t spent lots on ourselves so neither of us feels the need to pay attention to what the other buys. We consult each other on large purchases and have similar opinions on what our money should be spent on.

    In terms of the logistics, we have our own accounts that we receive our income into and use our own cashback credit cards for most spending spending (who wants to buy their own birthday present?) but we do have a joint account for practical purposes – some household bills are best paid from a single account to ensure they get paid and either one of us can easily administer. I do pay more into that account than she does, and for a period where she wasnt working I paid it all. None of this is really important though, we still pay some bills ourselves like she has never bothered to move the food bills to joint account, I was paying for her car until i bought the lease company out etc etc – it’s all the same money just whatever was convenient at the time.

    What is left over goes into savings, most of it is from my income as I earn significantly more and I manage the savings accounts (maximising interest rates etc) so most of it is in my name, but she periodically will send me cash if she has excess. However I am conscious that this puts her in a more dependent position where she has to trust me more than I have to trust her, so I maintain a spreadsheet that shows her where all the assets are, we discuss it every few months and I ask her if she wants to be added to any accounts or wants to manage one herself (she never does and it makes the tax more complicated).

  13. No joint accounts until you are married.

    The rest depends on many factors – how much money each makes and each has, whether each is working, what expenses each has. And the attitudes that each have about money.

  14. Shared finances resulted in my divorce.
    Wife thought she could spend it all.
    Get a prenup, keep separate finances, contribute to a joint for household.
    She clipped me for a few mil in the divorce

  15. Depends on the relationship.

    When my wife and i both worked we both kept separate accounts.

    Now as I work and she stay home. We have my account and she has a household account.

    We make big decisions together but ultimately I get final say as head of household.

  16. Our money is kept separate, but i’m in control of both. She has veto powers, however.

    Regarding dates we typically either offer if we’re in the mood, or it’s rock/paper/scissors. She pays half the mortgage to me in 3 weekly increments then i send the full check.

  17. When my wife and I started dating we both had our own accounts and managed our own bills. When we were still dating and she moved in to my house. We both continued to manage our own separate bank accounts but split utilities and the mortgage. When we got engaged we decided to have a one joint account. I manage our finances as I enjoy doing it. We have our “main” account which all our bills come out of and another account that we will transfer money into when we need it. We invest about 10-15% of our monthly income into our investment accounts through Fidelity. Have a emergency savings account. The only debt we have is our vehicles and my college loans which we always pay extra on both. We live within our means and anytime we want to buy something big we just run it through each other. For example, I recently bought a cheap sports car as just a daily driver/project car. This is something I wanted to do for a while and just told my wife my plan. We used to have a motorcycle but got ride of it when we had kids. We both have been wanting something to do on the weekends. We just made sure we could afford it, quoted insurance, shopped around the internet and pulled the trigger last Monday on it. This works for us and may not work for everybody. Just the way our relationship works.

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