Couples & Money: Do Whatever Works for the Relationship

I’ve worked in financial services since 2000. During that time, I’ve had a chance to see how couples handle money together. It’s been insightful. Why?

Because when I first started helping clients manage their money I thought that EVERYTHING should be handled together. Helping them ACTUALLY manage their money changed that idea.

What I came to realize and what should have been obvious from the beginning, is that everyone is different. And that includes how people think and feel about money. Some people don’t care that much about it. Others see it as the ultimate form of security. Again, everyone is different.

What has also emerged from these experiences with couples and money is that there are 3 types of money relationships that couples have. Here they are:

  • Everything together
  • Everything separate and
  • Some joint and some separate

I’ll give a quick summary of each.

The first couples’ relationship type is the type that handles everything together. They have nothing but a joint bank account. They do their taxes together. They have joint investment accounts. The home is in both of their names. They see separate anything as almost “hiding” something from the other and could result in problems in the relationship.

The second couples’ relationship type is the type that handles everything separately. They bank separately, they file taxes separately. One doesn’t know what the other has in credit card debt or student loans or anything else. They just allow each other to handle what they are responsible for.

And finally, there are couples that mesh the two prior ideas. They not only have a joint account for shared bills and responsibilities but they also have separate accounts to handle their responsibilities.

But no matter what type of money couple a couple is, I’ve come to realize that as long as the relationship works for them, that’s all that matters.

So when it comes to handling money, couples just need to see what works for them.

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