You And Your Partner Should Be Talking About Money. Here’s Why

When I had my first “adult” job, I was living with my long-term boyfriend. I was fresh out of college, while he had an established career. Though I struggled to pay my half of our rent, we agreed to split things 50/50 in the name of equality. But it was during a conversation about money and marriage that he said something surprising, considering these circumstances.

I had been speaking about how when we were married, I’d like to keep our finances separate. It was practical, in my opinion. During our marriage, we could share an account for expenses like groceries, rent, utilities, and vacation funds; otherwise, our money was our own. That way, there would be no resentment should one of us have an impulse splurge, and our personal debt would remain our own personal debt.

I thought he would have no problem with this, considering his dedication to the 50/50 split despite the difference in incomes. So, I was confused when he looked at me as though I had two heads. 

“Why would you not want to combine finances after we’re married?” he asked. I stuck to my guns, relying on my loved ones’ experiences with both separating and combining finances, but he was relentless.

It got me thinking: I have my reasons for wanting to be married while keeping separate finances, but why are others so adamant about combining finances after marriage?


Money and marriage – it’s a complex thing, and everyone has their own personal philosophy behind why they want to separate or combine finances. Some have seen an acrimonious split made more difficult due to combined finances, and therefore want to avoid it; others enjoy the sense of teamwork within their marriage that comes with sharing money. Again: it’s personal.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Fempire Finance | Money Talk 💷 (@fempirefinance)

In 2018, Ramsey Solutions, a financial education company, released the findings from a survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S. A hint at where this is going: the report is titled “Money Ruining Marriages in America.” The firm found that “the number one issue couples fight about is … money.” And the survey also found that “money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity.”

This is unsurprising when you dive into the study. Almost two-thirds of marriages start off in debt, and sixty percent of those who are more than $50,000 in debt feel uncomfortable talking about their finances. This lack of transparency can lead the spouses in less debt to assume everything in their partner’s finances is fine, when in reality, they’re swimming in fees. 

For example, if you pay off your credit cards in full every month, it’s a boost to your credit score. If your partner pays the minimum, their credit score may be lower. This isn’t a problem…unless you apply for a loan or open a joint account. This is because “each borrower on any joint loan or account is equally responsible for repaying associated debts, so usage and payment activity on those accounts is reflected in both spouses’ credit reports and scores.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by DebtWave Credit Counseling Inc (@debtwavecreditcounseling)

On top of this, some states are considered “community property” states, so each spouse assumes equal responsibility of assets and debts accumulated during the marriage. With complete trust and transparency, this can be no problem. But if one partner goes on a spending spree, it affects their spouse, too.

This spending spree leads to another key finding by Ramsey Solutions: one third of those who have argued within their marriage about money have hidden a purchase, usually because they know their partner wouldn’t have approved.

Lying when you have combined finances is less talked about than marital affairs, but it can be just as devastating. The dishonesty that comes from financial infidelity can completely disintegrate a marriage, as someone withholding information and going behind the backs of their loved one is playing not just with their own money, but their partner’s, too. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mums & Mums-to-be (Chronicles) (@trendymotherr)

Financial infidelity is an indicator of much deeper issues, be it an addiction, lack of trust, or spite. And should the marriage end while one spouse is none the wiser about their estranged partner’s money habits, it can ruin someone financially and credit-wise.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Katie💰Money + Debt Coach (

Keep in mind: sharing money in a marriage doesn’t always end in horror. Many people choose sharing finances for its positives. One reason people combine finances after marriage is because it’s simple. You each contribute to your collective pot, and should something arise – say, one of you gets laid off, or you take maternity leave – you have each other’s backs, pool the money, and save until you get to the other side. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danielle | Personal Finance💰 (@moneyinmatrimony)

It also leads to an equal amount of responsibility – you both have incomes that matter to the relationship, rather than incomes that matter to each of you individually. If your partner makes significantly less money than you, that’s okay, because their money is yours and vice versa. This can lead to less resentment, especially because keeping finances separate can create a sense of inequality or unfairness. (“You make more money, so you should pay way more!”)

Another reason couples combine finances is because it creates a special bond. If you and your spouse are open about where you’re at financially and where you’d like to be eventually, combining finances after marriage with the same goal in mind can create a deeper connection. It also holds both people accountable and requires constant communication, because financial infidelity is a major breach of trust. The ability to have tough conversations about money can also aid in communication about other important topics regarding marriage.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Devora Ascott Black (@isaaretirestrong)

In the end, my partner and I broke up. The argument over our shared money and marriage didn’t matter. But it was an extremely important conversation to have, because we needed to know this information before we became legally bound to one another. 

Even though the split was hard, I’ve found that others share my thoughts on being married with separate finances. And with that knowledge, I know he’ll find someone who wants to combine their finances with his after marriage.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Money Coach – Madelaine (@richbitchfinance)

There is no wrong or right answer to the question. While studies show combining finances can cause problems, no two couples are the same, and being married with separate finances can work. Have open discussions and get to the why behind your opinions. Ultimately, you should be with someone who’s on the same page as you. It’ll save time – and potentially your marriage.


What are your thoughts on money and marriage? Do you keep finances combined or separate with your partner? Share with us in the comments.

For More Info On Marriage, Read These Articles:

If You’re Struggling With Intimacy, These Steps Can Help You Rebuild

Blended Families Are More Visible Than Ever, But Here’s What No One Talks About

Join the Conversation