How to join finances with your partner (and still have your own independence)

How to join finances with your partner (and still have your own independence)

May 12, 2023

Ah, the rollercoaster of adulting.

Just when you think you've got a handle on things, you enter a serious relationship, and suddenly, your financial world gets a whole lot more complicated. Between those long debates over splurging on the latest iPhone or saving up for that dreamy Santorini getaway, it's no secret that money is the issue couples are most likely to argue about.

But hey, merging finances with your partner doesn't have to mean giving up your hard-earned financial independence. In this blog post, we'll dive into how to join forces on the money front while still keeping your own financial freedom intact – because, let's be real, as much as we love our partners, we don't always see eye-to-eye on whether to blow that last £50 on a swanky night out or tuck it away for a rainy day.

Being honest about the past

We’ve all got a bit of financial baggage - but when it comes to joining forces with your partner, it's time to lay those cards on the table. Start by opening up about your debts, assets, credit scores, and any money mishaps from the past. Sharing this info might be a tad awkward, but trust us, it's the key to building a solid foundation for your financial future together.

Think of this chat as a judgement-free zone where you can spill the beans about any outstanding loans, or even that time you maxed out your credit card on a shopping spree. It's all about learning from each other's experiences and helping one another grow as a couple. Plus, by tackling these issues head-on, you can team up to overcome them and create a stronger financial game plan.

Aligning your futures

Now that you've got the past sorted, it's time to shift your focus towards the future and make sure you're both on the same page when it comes to your financial goals. Whether it's saving for a house, planning for retirement, or jet-setting on a dream vacation, setting joint goals will ensure you're working together as a team.

This is also the chance for you to start carving out some independence. Do you have any individual goals? Maybe you want to buy a house with your sister or take a risk and start your own business. Which leads us nicely on to the next part.

Agreeing on how joint you want to be

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to combining finances – it's all about finding what works best for you as a couple. Some couples opt for fully joint accounts, while others prefer a mix of joint and separate accounts for different expenses. Discuss your preferences and agree on a system that suits your unique situation and goals.

Also what does joining finances actually mean? Are you talking day to day spending only. Or do you mean investments, pensions and the whole shabang.

This is also a good point to really think about how comfortable you are joining things up with your partner. If you think you’re worried you might wake up one day to an empty bed and empty bank account, you probably shouldn’t be embarking on a financial life with this person. Not until you can trust them anyway.

If it’s still early days and while you trust them, you’re not ready for the full leap yet, then maybe start light. Share an account for joint bills and groceries but keep the rest separate. Over time you can slowly bring the rest together (we’ve noticed this tends to happens when kids join the party).

Leave Yourself Some "You" Room

Maintaining a sense of financial independence is crucial, even when you're merging finances with your partner. Set aside a personal "treats" budget for each of you, allowing for guilt-free spending on the things that bring you joy. This way, you'll be able to indulge in the occasional self-care splurge without any disagreements. Here’s how our co founder Youssef and his wife Tatum do it.

“We’re pretty much joined up on everything but we do each get a pot of money each month that we can do what we like with. This is the same each month regardless of who earns more and goes into our personal accounts. I can use it on whatever I like - takeaways, clothes, football tickets. Or if I want to I can save it up towards something bigger that I’d like but Tatum wouldn’t care about - a new cricket bat maybe.”

We’ve heard from a lot of couples that this concept of a “guilt-free” pot can make a huge difference to how well the joining of finances goes. It’s your money to spend as you like - no questions.

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Embracing the “Us” mindset

Now that you’ve done the merge, to make sure the money relationship stays healthy going forward, it's all about switching from a "me" mindset to an "us" mindset. Sure, it might take a little getting used to, but embracing this team mentality will make it so much easier to tackle any money challenges that come your way.

This might be easier said than done, especially if you don’t earn the same salary. If you earn less, you might feel a bit uneasy about having the same to spend. If you earn more you might resent the fact that you have to “give some of it away”. This mindset will lead to more problems going forward and the sooner you can get past it, the easier it’ll be to have a healthy joint relationship with money.

If you’re not quite there yet, don’t worry. Just dial back the “jointness” a bit and keep more separate than combined.

Use tech to help you get set up

Just because you’ve been banking with your local bank all your life doesn’t mean they’re the ones to help you join your finances. They might need you to go in branch to open a joint account, they might not allow your partner on unless they bank with them too, or their tech product might be a bit behind the time and not allow you to have pots, goals or whatever else you need. Before picking your joint account, think about what you really want from a bank. Maybe it’s time to commit to that hot coral after all.

Combining the rest of your finances is where it gets really tricky. There’s no such thing as joint pensions, joint ISAs and so you might need to get creative. Naturally… this is where everything we’re building at Nosso comes in. You can mentally combine your savings, investments and pensions and share read only access with them. This way you can really start tracking your future as a team ❤️