Being in a serious relationship with that one special person can be incredibly rewarding, and it’s something most people want to do. It also involves some serious conversations about your shared future – like when to start a family, or buy a house or new car. According to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis in the USA, money issues are also responsible for 22% of all divorces, making it the third leading cause of failed relationships in the US. In other words, it’s important to agree on these issues.
It’s natural as a couple to want to share more and more things, and ultimately this will include finances. What a great way of signaling your commitment to the relationship and your trust of the other person! It’s also something that you need to enter into carefully, however much you love your partner.
Top tips on how to merge your finances:
This is one topic you’ll need to discuss early on. How much you both earn, spend and want to save are crucial numbers. It can be a more complicated if one partner earns significantly more than the other, or has very different ideas.
A good way to start is by setting up a joint bank account and each paying in an agreed amount per month, for shared expenses like groceries or utilities.
Always keep something back
Even when you do merge your finances, it’s always a good idea to keep a bit of ‘indulgence’ money each if you can – money that you can spend on whatever you like. That way you won’t resent your partner splurging your pooled money on more cycling accessories, or yet another gym outfit.
Have shared financial goals
The sense of achievement when you reach them will bring you closer, and think how much you’ll enjoy that holiday together when you’ve both saved up for it. Merging your finances also means that you can achieve your longer-term financial goals that little bit sooner, especially when it comes to investing in property.
You’ll also need to merge your lifestyles – you’re no longer two individuals living two different but linked lives under one roof, you’re laying the foundations for more shared responsibilities going forwards (like joint medical aid) and also for some of life’s most amazing shared adventures, like marriage and parenting.
Merging your finances is a big decision, and not one you should both take lightly. We’d also suggest talking to an independent financial advisor about your goals and targets.