How to manage finances in a marriage and succeed together

So how do you manage finances in a marriage so that you can work together? Wouldn’t it be nice to talk about money without fighting?

Unfortunately, money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce. Most of our money problems can be solved with clear communication, common goals, and proper money management.

Money, just like our relationships, is important. Different people feel differently about how their money should be handled. Unfortunately, our differences can lead to disagreements.

How can you set aside a nest egg for retirement if your partner constantly spends money? Can you have fun in life if your partner obsessively saves money?

Luckily for you, I’m going to talk about managing your finances in a relationship. Working together can solve your financial and marital problems.

How to manage finances in a marriage and succeed together

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Should we have separate bank accounts or one?

One of the most common questions newly married couples have is the number of bank accounts. Should you have one joint bank account and combine finances or manage them separately?

Your decision to manage finances separately or together will set the tone for the rest of your marriage. Either way, there is no right or wrong answer.

On one hand, managing finances separately allows each individual to control their own money. Therefore, it’s harder to get into fights about money when you have your own finances.

However, separate finances requires trust between spouses as any good relationship should. You don’t know what your spouse is spending their money on. Without trust, separate spending can challenge relationships.

Merging your money into one bank account means you’re working together. Everyone agrees that all money is “our money.” Therefore, it’s important to have good communication about your financial goals as a couple.

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How should married couples split finances?

Ultimately, how a couple splits their finances should be agreed upon between both individuals. However, here are some money tips that you can use as guidance for splitting your finances.

Married couples who have one bank account will have the easiest time splitting finances. You’re treating your money equally, regardless of who earned what. The most important thing you can do is have a budget. A budget will help you as a couple plan your money, without question as to who pays the bills.

Things are more complicated when you decide to keep separate finances. Let’s take a look at some guidelines for managing expenses with separate finances.

How should couples with separate finances split bills and expenses?

For married couples who have separate finances, should you split expenses 50/50? How do you calculate splitting bills?

First, calculate what your household expenses are and how much you owe monthly. You should include every shared expense from mortgage to utilities to child care.

Next, have a conversation about what would be a fair split for each expense. Maybe your husband eats all the food, so he should cover more of the groceries. Or maybe your wife spends more time showering, so she might cover more of the water bill.

You might have one partner cover the mortgage, while the other covers the food, utilities, etc. Regardless, sit down and decide what is fair for each person to pay.

Remember, the more you work together as a team the better your results.

Should you split bills 50/50 when living together?

Also, keep in mind that a 50/50 split might not be a fair split either.

Consider a couple with $1,500 of expenses and one person makes $1,200 and the other $4,000. Half of $1,500 is $750 or 63% of one persons income and 19% of the others.

Instead, it might be better so that everyone pays an equal percentage of their income. Combined, both spouses make $5,200 and their total expenses of $1,500 are 29% of their income. Therefore, both pay 29% of their income. The person making $1,200 would pay $348 while the other pays $1,160.

Open a joint bank account

I highly recommend opening a joint bank account for shared expenses. Take advantage of direct deposit and deposit your share of the expenses into your joint bank account. Also, some banks have automatic bill pay so you don’t even have to think about paying your bills.

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Who should manage finances in a marriage?

If you have separate finances then you can manage your finances individually. Ideally, you would still consult your partner in managing your finances.

If you have combined finances, it doesn’t matter who manages them as long as you’re in constant communication. Ideally, whoever is the most responsible with money should manage the day-to-day finances.

At a minimum, one person should update your budget on a weekly basis. Budgeting is important to keep your family on track for financial success. Once a month, get together and discuss your budget.

Discuss any overspending, transferring money to investments, upcoming financial burdens, etc. Open communication is key.

How can we solve money problems in marriage?

Open communication is key to solving money problems. If you can understand where your spouse is coming from and work together towards a solution then you’ll avoid most problems.

Taking a course on financial education is another good option for couples. My wife and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University when we were starting out. It gave us a solid foundation to start with until we grew in our financial education.

Financial counseling is always an option. Some churches may offer financial counseling services to their members for free.

Always prioritize your financial goals, work together, and ask for help when you need it.

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Summary: Manage finances in a marriage

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when managing your finances in a relationship.  So what marriage money tips can help you avoid fighting?

Regardless of separate or combined finances, it’s a good idea to have a joint bank account. Your joint bank account can be only for your shared expenses if nothing else.

People with combined bank accounts are agreeing that all money is everyone’s money. It’s a shared resource between each individual, so no worries on splitting expenses. So how do you split expenses when you’re keeping separate finances?

Ultimately, it’s what you agree upon. Some people may want to split 50/50, but it isn’t always effective if someone makes more than the other person. Therefore, consider splitting expenses as a percentage of income.

In most cases, it doesn’t matter who manages the finances. What is most important is your monthly budget discussion.

If I can give you the golden rule of finances between couple it’s open communication solves most problems. People fight and get divorces when communication and working together doesn’t happen.

If you still fight over money, consider taking a financial education course or seek counseling.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.