One of the biggest disagreements that couples have is about money. A lot of that has to do with the fact that people aren’t always on the same page about how to share - and how to not share - finances together. From credit cards and bills to everyday purchases and vacations, each couple has their own system of right and wrong.
In fact, that’s what seems to be most important to most couples, according to a new survey from Zeta. The survey, which polled 20,000+ couples in February 2021, focused on how people combine their finances.
One of the top priorities? Fairness.
Here’s some our suggestions on the best ways keep on top of your your relationship’s finances fair:
1. Share Expenses and Accounts Together.
Some couples choose to open up a shared bank account for the big-ticket expenses of everyday life, like rent, utilities, and car payments. According to Zeta’s survey, 39% of respondents said that they were “all in” with their partner’s finances. Most (80%) of this group were married or at least living together (16%).
If you want to keep things fair, joining all your finances together is the best way to do it. With a joint bank account, you have a transparent view into your financial situation as a couple and it’s easy to track where you may need to cut back on spending.
When it comes to shared credit cards, the big advantage to having the same credit card as a couple is that you can build credit faster and get rewards at a far higher rate than if you split expenses across different cards.
2. Make Expenses Proportionate to Earnings
There’s an easy rule of thumb if you’re trying to make things fair by making sure that you’re both paying an equal share: make the expenses proportional to your salaries.
For example, if your partner makes $60,000 a year and you make $40,000 a year, your partner will pay 60% of expenses and you would pay 40%.
Or, if you open up a shared bank account, you can both decide to put the same percentage of your salary into that account each month and use it for the big expenses.
For credit cards, this could be an opportunity for one partner to get an everyday card that gives cashback rewards for groceries and another for a card that gets travel miles, depending on who is buying what.
3. Keep It All Separate
If you aren’t comfortable sharing finances or think it’s just easier to keep it all separate, you’re not alone, either. Zeta’s survey showed that 39% of the couples surveyed had no joint account at all.
Some of these couples were married (30%) and almost half (46%) were living together. But how can you keep things fair? Without joint bank accounts, you may find that there isn’t enough transparency as you’re splitting costs.
All’s Fair in Love & Finances
Every couple is different and so is every financial situation. To really make sure that both you and your partner are on the same page, it’s important to talk about who’s paying for what and how that makes both of you feel.
You will want to feel comfortable with your own role in the relationship when it comes to finances and also think about how both of you can save for those even bigger items down the road.
The most reliable way to make sure that something is fair, after all, is to ask yourself if you’re happy with the current arrangement. If you’re not, it might be time to look into alternatives that make sharing finances easier.
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