The question of who takes responsibility for managing financial affairs and setting goals and priorities in a relationship is one that has a number of different solutions. The start of a relationship can mean a loss of financial independence that is difficult to adapt to. As a result, some couples choose to split bills in half rather than having a joint account.
Financial independence is maintained with this arrangement, but money management becomes complicated, inefficient and time consuming. In some relationships, one partner takes prime responsibility for managing money, occasionally to the extent that the other partner has little information on the overall financial situation.
Managing money jointly is desirable but can lead to conflict where partners have different values and attitudes towards money. Without good communication, joint management can lead to a situation where neither partner is ensuring money is managed effectively or where each partner is competing with the other for the use of money for their own priorities.
Here are some useful tips for managing money as a couple:
- Each partner in a relationship should have access to an agreed amount of money for which he or she is not accountable to the other, so as to have a degree of financial independence
- Simple money management systems are usually more effective than complicated systems
- Goals and priorities should be agreed jointly and take into account the different attitudes and values of each partner
- Specific responsibilities for sharing money management tasks should be clearly defined so that joint responsibility doesn’t become no-one’s responsibility
- There should be full disclosure of all financial information to each partner, regardless of who has taken responsibility
As with any aspect of a relationship, managing money is something that requires an understanding of each other’s needs and good communication.