No matter how long you’ve been dating someone, chances are you’ve probably already had some type of conversation about money. Even on your first date, the question of whether or not you split the bill probably came up. As a relationship gets more serious and you work toward a future together, money can become an even bigger conversation topic. Eventually, if you chose to settle into a life together long-term, you might consider joining bank accounts.So, knowing the signs you’re ready to share money with your partner, straight from the experts, might be able to help you and your SO know if you’re ready to take that leap.
Now, before any couple decides to share finances, one expert says that it’s important to recognize how big of a deal it really is. “As a couple, sharing money comes long after sharing a toothbrush,” online dating expert Julie Spiratells . “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.”
Here’s what else the experts say you’ll notice when you and your partner are ready to join bank accounts and share that cash flow.
1. You’ve Already Discussed Your Future Together
Before you merge your money, Spira says you should first talk about what you want for your future life together. “The decision to share money or [a] open joint banking or credit card account usually happens when you know you’re planning a future together, or have already gotten engaged or moved in together,” Spira explains. “It makes sense to discuss finances before cohabitating so resentment doesn’t build as a couple.” Spira says two of the biggest reasons couples break up are money and sex, so being prepared before you share money is crucial.
2. You’ve Talked About Your Financial Past
Part of adulthood means learning how to manage your money, as complicated as it might be. Dealing with credit card debt, student loans, and managing all your bills can be hard for some, but adding another person into the mix can complicate things further. But, Spira says that if you and your partner can come to an agreement on how to pay for things, you might be ready to share finances. “Sharing money doesn’t have to be a 50/50 split,” she says. “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.”
Additionally, if the two of you can talk about how to handle debt and finances in general, merging your finances might be the logical next step. “If your relationship is getting serious, it’s time to talk about finances,” Spira adds. “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.”
3. You’ve Planned A Large Purchase Together
Large purchases such as homes or cars can often go hand-in-hand with adulthood and serious relationships. If these are plans you and your partner see for your future, then the two of you could be on your way to splitting money, however you see fit. “Sharing money might include buying a large purchase, such as a car, or a home or condo together,” Spira says. “While it can be fun going house-hunting, if you’re about to put both of your names on the title, typically someone will put more money down on the deposit or pay the mortgage, while the other might pay for utilities and maintenance fees. If this is the case, usually couples will create a household bank account that both can contribute to based on their ability to have funds to do so.”
Sharing money is a big deal, and it shouldn’t be entered into lightly. “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 says. It’s a personal choice, so it’s important that you and your partner are on the exact same page. After all, you both deserve to be happy and secure with your relationship, and your money.