Two Easy Ways to Merge Your Money
There are two basic ways to merge your money with your spouse or significant other; but there’s no one official “right” way.
Just use whichever method works best for the two of you, or come up with your own. The important thing is that you’re both happy with the results. Don’t let potential judgment from others influence your decision.
Here are the basics on the two simple ways to combine your finances, along with a few of the pros and cons for each.
The one big pot method
This is what might be thought of as the traditional way to merge money: close your separate accounts and open a single combined one. All of your money goes into one big pot, where it’s then doled out for bills, savings, investing, spending money, etc.
Who does the doling out is up for grabs — one person can handle it, or you can set aside time each week and pay bills together. Likewise, all of your debts go into one big pot, regardless of who obtained them. All financial endeavors are undertaken jointly; whether it’s paying off debt or saving up for your children’s education.
-Fewer accounts to deal with
-Good if traditional views & roles are important to you
-Good if your goals, feelings about money, and spending/savings habits are almost identical
-Can be a good way for both parties to stay aware of your family’s financial state
-One person may feel like the other person is keeping score
-Easy to fall into a parent-child relationship regarding money
-Bad if your goals, feelings about money, and spending/savings habits are different
-Can be a way for one partner to ignore the finances while the other handles them
The his, hers, & ours method
This method is gaining popularity and is very flexible. In the his, hers & ours method you keep your existing individual accounts, and you open a new joint account together. Each partner then contributes a certain amount to the joint account.
How much to contribute is usually determined in one of two ways: either based on percentage of income, or based on dividing the joint expenses in half.
If you do percentage of income it works like this: if one person makes 65% and the other person makes 35% of the total income, then you each pay 65% and 35% of the bills respectively. If you do half, each person pays half of the joint bills, regardless of how much income they are bringing in. All joint bills (which usually include everything related to running the household, plus entertainment or activities that you both participate in) are paid from the joint account.
Things that only one of you wants to do are paid from individual accounts (such as hobbies, gifts, splurges, car payments if you each have a car, etc.)
– Feels more independent & flexible
– Good if your goals, feelings about money, and spending/savings habits are dissimilar (and even better if they are similar)
– Can be a good way for both parties to stay aware of your family’s financial state
– Joint expenses are generally fixed, making it easier to budget
– More accounts to deal with
– More record-keeping
– If you each contribute half but have wildly different incomes, you live at the level of the person who makes the least amount of money
– You may get flak from people with more traditional views
If you’ve combined your finances already, which method do you use? No matter which method you choose to merge your money, be sure to have regular updates so that both parties are aware of how you are doing financially and to set goals & evaluate progress.