Two people join their lives, with plans and dreams to continue the journey of life together as a unit. Then, they sit down to talk about managing their money, and they balk at sharing their income and allowing the other access to their money. This is especially true for people who have been managing their money by themselves for a long time and those who have been previously married to someone they fought with over money or who “burned” them financially.
Couples can successfully manage their finances separately, but for many people, maintaining separate accounts is a way of not fully committing to their relationship. By keeping my money separate from your money, the individuals “keep one foot out the door” of the relationship as a way of protecting themselves from possible disaster. When they do this, they base their relationship on distrust.
People can commit themselves to their relationship and protect themselves from possible financial disaster through complete transparency and joint vigilance. Couples can find themselves in trouble when one partner handles the bill paying and the other partner disconnects from responsibility for money management. When both partners take responsibility for financial management (even if one does most of the bookkeeping), mistakes can be caught and corrected before they snowball into disaster, and both partners know exactly what they have to do to help their budget recover.
When you commit yourselves to marriage or other type of permanent relationship, going “all in” with your finances can give you a better chance at success together – financial and marital. Just make sure you’re both actively involved in decision-making, planning, budgeting, and monitoring. If you can’t do this without arguing, seek help from a marriage therapist or other counselor – talking about finances is an essential ingredient in a successful relationship.