A lot of relationship experts agree that combining your finances is the way to go. However, just because the experts suggest it doesn’t mean that everyone should do it. While these are five reasons to combine your finances, it’s important to mention that if you’re in an abusive relationship, do not combine your finances.
It Promotes Honesty
A lot of people argue that they can’t combine their finances because then their spouse will see everything they’ve purchased. If you know your spouse isn’t going to be happy about something you purchased, that means you either shouldn’t have bought it, or you and your spouse aren’t on the same page with finances. If you and your spouse aren’t on the same page about spending, maintaining separate finances doesn’t fix the problem, it just makes the problem less obvious. While it’s going to take some work to get on the same page, and both parties will likely have to compromise, the results will be worth it. If you simply cannot stand the idea of your spouse knowing everything that you’ve purchased, that’s probably not a great sign. While your spouse shouldn’t be combing through the transaction history on an hourly basis in order to monitor you, saying that you can’t combine finances because there are things you’d like to hide from your spouse, doesn’t bode well either.
It Prevents a Transactional Marriage
Who’s paying for this date? What about the date last week, who paid for that? When couples don’t have joint finances, it’s much more difficult for them to look at everything as “our money.” Instead, the money in my account is mine, and the money in your account is yours. However, resentment can come creeping in when one party is often paying for the dates and the other party doesn’t contribute as often. Entitlement may also come creeping in: “Why should I have to spend my money on a date? If you want to go on a date, you can spend your money that, but I want to spend my money on other things.” While the other party may feel entitled to go on dates. Eventually, each party begins keeping score. One party may feel obligated to pay for a date that they didn’t want to go on because the other party has paid for the past three dates. This may cause frustration and resentment.
“There’s Something I’d Like to Hide…”
The arguments against combining finances can usually be boiled down to three things:
1. I don’t want to combine finances because I want to keep my spending habits private from my spouse.
2. I don’t trust my spouse enough to combine our finances.
Neither of those sentiments predict a particularly successful marriage. If you don’t want to combine finances because you don’t want your spouse to see how you spend your money, that’s not a good sign. A marriage needs openness and honesty to grow. If you cannot be open and honest with your spouse about money, it may be a sign that there are things that you and your spouse need to work through. Healthy marriages also need trust. If you don’t trust your spouse enough to combine finances, that may be a sign that there are issues you and your spouse need to work through together. The third argument against combining finances involves abuse: what if the relationship is abusive? Obviously, those in abusive relationships should probably refrain from combining finances. If you are already in an abusive marriage, and your finances are combined, it may be a good idea to contact domestic violence resources to see if they can help you craft an exit plan.
It’s All “Ours”
When you and your spouse combine your finances, it can help you see everything you buy as “ours.” Couples who don’t combine finances may have a greater sense of “this is mine, and this is yours.” For example, imagine a woman who buys a computer with her money. Even though it may be a “family computer” she may feel as though she has more of a right to it than her spouse because she bought it. This can cause problems when one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse. The higher earning spouse may be living life at a higher standard simply because they have the finances to do so. However, when finances are completely combined, everything you bring into the house would, ideally, be considered as equally belonging to you and your spouse.