An often debated topic within marriages is whether the spouses should keep their finances separate or combine them?
Before getting married, each person usually has their own source(s) of income, their own debts, bills, etc. FYI: in most cases, the man is coming in with
more debt than the woman. Go figure!
Once you tie the knot, do you continue to operate as “His and Hers”? Or is it time to make it “Ours”? I know people who will vehemently say that once you get married, “there is no more Yours or Mine; it all belongs to Us”. I also know folks who take the stance, “As long as she pays her bills and I pay my bills, we’re fine”.
Which is the right way? Well before answering that, let me tell you what Gina and I do. Every single dollar that comes into our household, whether generated by her or generated by me, goes into a “combined pot”. From that, we take care of all our financial obligations i.e. saving, giving, bills, expenses, etc.
Included in those obligations is an allowance for each of us. We can do whatever we want to do with that money. I cannot question what she chooses to do with her allowance and she cannot question what I do with mine (within reason of course; I’m sure she’d have something to say if I went out and spent it all on lap dances!)
So does that mean the correct way is to combine your finances? Not necessarily. We have some friends who keep their money separate. They have agreed that from the husband’s income, certain obligations will be paid (e.g. mortgage, insurance, etc.), while others (e.g. car note, groceries, etc.) will be paid from the wife’s income. Does it work? Well, they’ve been happily married for over 30 years and they don’t have any arguments about money or finances.
So once again, which is the correct way?!?!?!?! WHATEVER WAY WORKS BEST FOR YOU AS A COUPLE. For some, the combined pot is utopian and for others, separate but equal is ideal. The important thing is to have the discussion (preferably before you get married), weigh the pros and cons of each choice, then collectively agree and decide on which route you’ll take.
I cannot tell you which will be best for you. But I can tell you that as long as you come to your decision together, your financial management will be a lot easier!
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Brandon and Gina Wilkins are financial coaches and co-founders of Financial Freedom Builders LLC. Mr. Wilkins is also the author of the financial classic, Getting Rich is Simple...But It Ain't Easy! They are available for coaching, workshops and seminars designed to help you take control of your finances.
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