It’s less and less common for partners to share their accounts nowadays. We’re less likely to buy an apartment than rent, we stay unmarried for longer and jump jobs once every three years on average. We’re just a much fickler bunch than our parents were, or even people as little as 10 years our senior, so it stands to reason we’re less inclined to think opening a joint account with our partner makes good financial sense. Hey, who knows if they’re your ‘forever’ partner anyway?
A shared account is equivalent to marriage and a mortgage is equivalent to a life sentence. Embark on this mission at your own risk. By avoiding the money-sharing option, we are responsible for our own actions, be they good, bad or darn right diabolical, but there’s no one else to blame but ourselves.
My mother brought me up saying that a girl needed a ‘running-away’ account, i.e. a get-away fund, in case it all hits the fan and I need to jump ship, leave the country or just damn well treat myself to that ridiculously-priced pair of shoes and have no one to answer to. At least I think that’s what she meant. Probably, as she could have given Imelda Marcos a run for her money.
The point I’m making is that your hard-earned money is yours and it could prove a little difficult to share, and much less receive unwanted advice about your spending habits.
A Recipe for Romance or Financial Ruin?
If your partner happens to be a disaster zone when it comes to money, be warned. If you’re lucky enough to have a clue when it comes to budgeting, you don’t need the bad influence in your life. But if you’re financially illiterate too? Start heading for the hills. Two over-spenders do not a happy future make. Nor are frugality and lavishness the fruit of happy matrimony. If your partner never buys a stitch of clothing, you’ll be stashing new purchases to the back of the closet and removing the price tags till kingdom come: “what, this old thing? I’ve had it for months!”, you lie. Through your teeth.
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom though, you’ll probably be surprised to hear me say after all that; it is possible to work together to make ends meet. Applications galore exist to help you budget better and plan together for shared goals. It’s unlikely you’ll be divided about taking an amazing holiday together- if you can agree on the place- so you can work out a system of putting money away to that end, with a little digital assistance.
Try setting up a financial management tool on your smartphone which alerts you to movements in your account and what you are OK (or not) to spend. Sort out the day-to-day and your long-term goals, so you worry less and enjoy each other’s company more. One of the biggest relationship killers is money, debt and lack of communication relating to household finances.
These apps mean if one of you goes off the rails, you (or they) will know, so talk it out. Take my advice. It will be a weight off your shoulders once you know where you both stand. Happy Budgeting!
Download MoneyStrands for free: