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Black couple paying bills online at home

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There are a lot of milestones couples reach in relationships, first date, first time, first anniversary, first “I love you” (in no particular order). And while all of these things are great progress markers for a partnership, sharing money takes commitment to a whole new level.

“As a couple, sharing money comes long after sharing a toothbrush,” online dating expert Julie Spira told Elite Daily.

“It’s really a big deal, because it shows you’re on the path to a deeper commitment, such as sharing the rest of your life together. Some couples offer to share credit card numbers to pay for tickets or plan vacations, but opening a joint checking account, or to formerly add someone to your credit card as a second cardholder is more serious than tossing $20 into a cookie jar each week. It shows you have trust in your partner and your overall relationship.”

When it comes to how you and your partner divide household finances, there are no hard and fast rules. Some couples go 50/50, others do 80/20, it’s up to you and your partner to decide what works best for both of you.

“Sharing money doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split,” Spira said. “Often one person has a higher salary and bank balance than the other, so discussing money and the amount each person will contribute as a couple is important to the health of your relationship.”

Keep in mind that the money conversation between you and your boo won’t be one and done–stay open for multiple talks and multiple adjustments as you all become acclimated to each other’s money flow.

“If your relationship is getting serious, it’s time to talk about finances,” Spira advised.  “I believe in sharing credit reports, so there are no hidden surprises. If one is filled with credit card debt, you can decide together on a strategy to repair the financial health.”

If your future with your significant other seems shaky, it’s okay to keep money separate until there is a stronger bond.

“Not every relationship is destined for a happy ending, so couples should have separate bank accounts, even if they have a joint account, in the event the relationship goes south,” Spira said.

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