The downside of separate bank accounts

two kissed piggybanks orange and red

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Whether you’ve been in a relationship for 6 months, 2 years, or 20 years, you’ll know that managing your finances takes work – with or without a partner. Often, when it comes to being in a relationship, it can be easier to keep your finances separate. When each person is working in their own prospective roles to earn their own money, and each individual wants to be able to spend it on what they value – well… It just makes sense doesn’t it?

Splitting bills and expenses these days is relatively easy so why would you go down the joint account route? Especially when – as we know – not all relationships last forever?

It can cause arguments

The problem with having separate accounts is that it can cause arguments among couples. When one person is all for a joint account, and the other isn’t having a bar of it, it may seem that it’s an issue about the relationship and shared wants and needs rather than just about finances. These can be tiresome. Issues can also arise when one person is spending far more of their wage on the relationship (and perhaps spending more time at work) and seeing little appreciation.

two kissed piggybanks orange and redWhat am I spending on me, what am I spending on us?

How do you go about paying for things when you are doing couple activities, or have couple bills? Is it whoever picks it up first? Always split down the middle? Keeping track of what you are spending as part of a couple is important – as is keeping track of what you are spending on yourself, whether it’s getting a new winter jacket, or your weekly pilates classes. The issue here is tracking the two separately instead of as a whole. Once you do you may find that you are spending more than you should be in one of these areas. There must be a better way to budget!

A better alternative

Having a joint bank account – as well as separate bank accounts – is the happy medium here. Each person in the partnership can contribute part of their income towards the shared account which will go towards things like bills, joint purchases, groceries, holidays, and dates. If one person is paid less than the other then this may be the same percentage of their wage, for example. Then you should have a separate transactional account and savings of your own. For those in committed relationships and the means to do so, a joint savings account is also recommended.

Considering that money is the top cause of stress in a relationship it’s important to come to the right financial setup solution that will work best for both of you, with the least friction.