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Right after my fiancé and I got engaged, we had one of the most important and intense conversations of our entire relationship. It started with agreeing on a budget for a wedding and spiraled into a full-blown conversation about money and our finances together. Neither of us had ever thought about whether we'd combine our cash or keep our money and portfolios separate.
We thought about our parents, and how both sets of them instantly merged their finances when they got married. While back then (in the '70s and '80s) that was more normal, we felt that our lives and our relationship were different. We decided, after long conversations, arguments, and laying it all out in a comprehensive spreadsheet, that we weren't going to follow in our parents' footsteps, we were going to keep things separate.
We have different savings goals
I spend a lot of time measuring and optimizing my savings goals every month. My fiancé does not. He doesn't focus on growing his savings account, only maintaining it. When we tried to set a joint budget, I wanted to try to save 50% more than he did every week, and the budget we agreed on wasn't satisfying to either of us.
Because I'm on a mission to grow my savings every month, we've decided to keep our bank accounts separate. That way, I can control what's coming in and out of my savings and manage it the way I prefer, and he can do the same for his accounts.
We want to pay our own bills
Other than our standard joint bills (rent and utilities) we decided it would be best to pay our separate bills on our own. Since we don't have many combined expenses, we figured it would be less of a headache to just keep our own credit cards and pay our bills separately, like we've been doing throughout the five years of our relationship. We take turns buying groceries and paying for joint activities. It's easier for us to continue with this routine than to open up a joint credit card or checking account to pay for things.
This gives me peace of mind that I can continue the spending habits I've spent years building (which are very mindful and incorporate lots of tricks to make sure I keep my credit card bill lower than the month before). This also allows my fiancé to spend on purchases that matter to him, like tech gadgets and lunch deliveries, that I might get extra judgemental about if we had a joint credit card bill to pay off.
We're saving separately for joint goals
While we have joint future financial goals that we often talk about (e.g. buying a house together in the next 10 years, saving for a future wedding and honeymoon over the next five years) we have decided to maintain our own separate savings accounts for those goals and contribute when we can.
For example, I put a chunk of my income every month into both of those savings accounts (Future Home and Future Wedding) and usually that amount depends on other bills I have to pay. My fiancé puts money into his savings accounts for those things at the end of the year based on extra cash he gets from his work bonus and holiday gifts. Because of that, it makes it easier for us to save on our own for joint goals.
We don't have any big reasons to merge our money right now
After spending so much time thinking through the decision of whether or not we should combine our finances, we came to the conclusion that there was no pressing reason to jump in and do this right now. We don't have complicated joint expenses, and we don't have major joint financial goals right now.
Instead, we both felt more comfortable taking the next handful of years (perhaps five to 10 years) to continue to build up our finances, according to individual habits and goals, and reconsider the conversation of merging our finances then.
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