Money in a Relationship: "Do What Works For You"

August 19, 2010 | Margaret W.

Comments (1)

Love and money - does this combination always have to lead to problems? 

No, but it often does.

According to a 2004 study, Love and Money, commissioned jointly by SmartMoney Magazine and Redbook, "the majority of both male and female respondents (64%) maintained joint bank accounts, with just 14% keeping everything in separate accounts and another 18% using both".

If you are in a relationship, which do you use? What factors do you take into consideration when making your choice?

The Consolidated Credit Counselling Services of Canada, a not-for-profit registered charity, has a section on their website that deals with marriage and money: When Love, Marriage and Money Come Together. There the author suggests:

"it's not a bad idea for a couple to maintain one joint chequing account as well as individual personal chequing accounts. Both spouse's pay cheques can be deposited into the joint account, and all bills paid from it.

That way, both spouses know where they stand as a couple. Plus, bookkeeping and account costs may be kept to a minimum because of the higher combined balance."

J.D. Roth, of Get Rich Slowly, talks about money and marriage in his post Which Should You Choose, Joint or Separate Finances?  He tells us that he and his wife split their finances completely, and says:

"Some people find this strange; they feel that it fundamentally undermines the nature of marriage. But it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. This system works for us because:

  • We have no children,
  • Our salaries have always been roughly equivalent, and
  • We’ve found a way to split household bills evenly."

However, in the end, he counsels, each couple must do what works for them.

Here are some books you can find in the library about the topic. Click on the cover to find out were to find each one in the system.

Financial Infidelity     Conscious Spending for Couples     Your Money and Your Man

By the way, don't forget to read the MoneySmarts/Redbook study I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It's fascinating!