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Perhaps you and your long-term boyfriend have decided that you’re going to take the next step and live together. If so, congratulations and enjoy learning about one another on a much more personal level. On the other hand, unmarried partners really have to be careful when it comes to sharing their paychecks. When you give a significant other access to your finances, there has to be a lot of trust involved.
During the times that things are going well in your relationship, everything can work out just fine. What you don’t want is having to learn how to close a joint bank account after coming home to an empty apartment. The fact of the matter is that unmarried couples have few protections available when they have combined their finances and the relationship suddenly goes south. Here’s how you can strengthen your relationship without risking your money.
Keeping Finances Separate
Whether you have a generous beau who is always offering to pay, or you have a relationship that allows you both to be independent financially, you have to be aware of the reality of shared finances. When you allow your paycheck to be direct deposited into an account and you’re not the only person who has access to it, there’s no guarantee that your money is going to be where you put it. You might trust your significant other immensely, but the bottom line is that sharing a bank account with someone that you’re not married to is seriously flirting with disaster. There are other ways that you can show your partner that you trust and love him or her – without putting your money in jeopardy.
Avoid the Cosigner Nightmare
If you are willing to risk your cash, you probably also don’t mind putting your credit on the line. Couples who live together and pool their money together into a joint bank account are probably also okay with cosigning on one another’s loans and other major forms of debt. Consider this; if your girlfriend decides that she doesn’t want to pay for a car loan that you cosigned for anymore, you’re still responsible. Either you would have to make the payments on a car that she could continue to drive around scot-free, or your credit rating would go down and you’d have debt collectors after you.
Having a Reason to Make Things Official
Those who live together and want to start making more joint decisions might believe that combining finances is a smart thing to do. On the other hand, if you’re going to behave like a married couple then there’s probably no good reason for you to avoid making things official. The fact of the matter is that married couples are entered into a legally binding contract. So, if your spouse decides to go crazy and start spending money on a luxury wardrobe and last-minute trips to Tahiti, you have options available to you that would prevent you from going into debt.
Don’t take risks with your personal finance that you don’t need to, just to be able to prove something to your significant other. If your boyfriend or girlfriend has good credit, then there shouldn’t be a problem with you exercising your authority over your money. Only co-mingle your personal finances when you have a legal spouse.