Many couples ask me to prescribe the best solution for their finances when they are starting to cohabitate or are getting married. They want to “get it right” and are hoping to learn a winning strategy. And couples that have had a plan in place for many years often ask if there is a better way.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. For some couples, a complete merger of all finances works great. For others, having only a small portion for joint expenses together works best. And for others, it will be a combination somewhere in the middle. It’s very important to consider your values in determining the best way for your relationship. When questions of freedom or independence are important to one or both of you, making sure that the structure leaves you both feeling empowered is critical to good communication. In order to make those choices, I like to work through a series of questions to find the optimal plan:
Is there a disparity in income between the two partners?
Which decisions are independent and which are joint?
Who will handle the various responsibilities?
And the most important question I ask is: how long will you keep this plan in place before you do a review to determine if you are both still happy with it?