Money isn't very romantic. Besides picking up the check after dinner, most couples don't seriously discuss money until finances are merged. Entering into a marriage or combining bank accounts without discussing money thought is a rookie move that can ultimately lead to financial ruin, even if the relationship is a success. Before taking the plunge and combining bank accounts, make sure you have these money-centered conversations.
Divvying Up Funds
When American households were solely single income, the division of labor and money was slightly less extensive. Today, couples need to navigate freelance careers, multiple part-time jobs, working while in school, and wildly different incomes.
Each couple needs to discuss and agree upon a budget and money distribution system that works for them. While a straight 50/50 split of wages into a joint and personal account works for some, couples where one partner makes significantly more may devise a joint budget where each pays a percentage relative to their income. Couples who are merging all finances may benefit from a small allowance every week for small splurges. Without a plan for combining and dividing income, resentment over spending may build up.
Create a Budget
Even if each partner is keeping the bulk of their money, joint accounts can become contentious when both people aren't on the same page about joint expenses. For those fully merging finances, discussing appropriate spending is important to prevent overdrawing accounts and achieving long term goals. Either create a budget or use a tool like Mint or You Need a Budget to come up with an ideal month of expenditures so both partners are on the same page about expenses.
Enact a Spending Limit
If one partner is a spendthrift while the other is more frugal, having a spending limit helps defuse money-centered arguments. Set a dollar amount that each partner can spend without permission and then create an agreement where any amount over that limit has to be discussed prior to...