Sharing a life with somebody doesn’t have to mean sharing finances, but, it naturally brings up some conversations about commingling money. When a relationship gets serious, and especially when a couple gets married, you are sharing resources. He may get health insurance because of your job. You may both enjoy a discount on Internet, or your car, because of his job. You split the groceries. You split utility bills. You will encounter some situations where you can feel like keeping all of your money separate is just making some things more difficult. But, many couples do keep things separate. In fact, one survey found that nearly half of couples keep entirely separate bank accounts, and even those with some joint accounts still maintain separate ones. The survey even found that many individuals keep secret individual accounts that their partners know nothing about.
No matter how much you love or trust someone, everyone can get some feelings of resource guarding when it comes to money. Having anything (or anyone) mess with your money could have serious implications for your life. That’s why a lot of people say you just can’t involve your heart when you make financial decisions. That’s complicated when you’re talking about comingling finances with someone who has your heart. But here are things to consider before making that jump.
How long have you been together?
One fascinating chart published here shows that the chances of breaking up remain very high in the first few years of dating. They plummet around year five, but until then, unmarried couples might want to think twice about making any major commitments like buying a home together or going halfsies on a several-hundred-thousand-dollar investment. Imagine the nightmare if you break up with someone and still own an apartment together? Or have to touch base regularly to decide what to do with that stock you grew with joint funds? And if you aren’t married, you don’t have many legal protections surrounding those funds. So ask yourself: have I been with this person long enough to make this kind of commitment?