As couples take their relationship to the next level of commitment, they typically start thinking about how they will manage their money together. 

Whether you are in a serious, committed relationship where you are planning for your future together or newly married, the questions around how best to navigate money together can bring up a lot of uncertainty and emotions for couples.

While there is no right or wrong answer, there are a few common ways to merge your money and financial lives, once you decide it is time as a couple to do so.


Split the bills by a percentage or by a dollar amount

This approach looks at all expenses, and then the couple decides how much each person will pay for the bills based on what they feel is right. It can be 50/50 or some percentage of their income based on income levels, etc. This approach allows for more separation between finances, but it does take extra work to figure out who pays for what, or how each bill will be split up, according to the strategy the couple decides to follow.


Keep separate accounts but share a joint account for joint expenses and goals.

With this approach, the couple has at least one joint account for joint bills like housing or food costs. Sometimes couples will also opt for joint savings for goals like travel or a home down payment, but still keep their own checking and savings account for the rest of the expenses or goals.

Merge everything into one joint account

This approach basically has the incomes go into the joint account that pays for everything. It is the easiest in terms of transparency and day to day management of the finances. I find that when couples go with this route they feel it is easier to see all the day to day transactions and plan the best way to allocate the money into their various savings goals.

Whatever approach you choose is up to you as a couple to decide. It is best to go with a strategy that you both can commit to, and don't be afraid to switch if you find one works better for you down the road. The key is to talk often and openly about your money, and how you can both help each other evolve on your financial journey. 

Keep in mind that with all these approaches, you will still need to have your own 401(k), IRA or insurance policies. The advice above applies to the day to day checking and savings accounts of couples. 

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