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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.
12 thoughts on “Why Unmarried Partners Should Never Co-Mingle Their Funds”
I’ve never been in that situation, but sounds like pretty good advice to me. Always good to protect one’s hard earned assets even if love starts to cloud the picture. Tom
Tom @ Dividends Diversify recently posted…I’d Like to Introduce You to the Johnsons
Love and finances. A potentially volatile mix. There are no rules when it comes to either. Just do what you feel comfortable with. I see nothing wrong with having both co-mingled and separate accounts for a time. This would allow a couple to become more comfortable sharing finances and decisions. I’m married and still have both co-mingled and separate accounts. Go figure 🙂 Thank you for commenting.
Great points. Its gotta be pretty serious when you combine finances and you should e on the same page!
Passivecanadianincome recently posted…Another look at FIRE
No doubt. We all know that finances can be a huge sticking point between couples if they are not on the same page. Being married for almost ten years, we still have our own individual accounts along with co-mingled accounts. So far it works but I would like to simplify and reduce the overall number of accounts we have just for sanity 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Similar to Tom, I’ve never been in this situation. Mrs. BD and I started to commingle finances when we were still dating / engaged, but we obviously knew we were heading toward a unified path / direction.
We actually got our first checking account together when one of our relatives wrote us a check made out to the both of us – we couldn’t deposit it in a single account.
Good points overall for consideration – thanks for sharing.
Mike @ Balanced Dividends recently posted…My 20 Year Addiction – 9 Things I’ve Learned
I guess if you both are on the same path, headed in the same direction, it can be OK to co-mingle accounts. I had all my accounts separated until I was married and today we still have our own separate and co-mingled accounts. One day, I’d like to just have co-mingled accounts for general simplicity. As always, I appreciate your comment.
I agree to keep the relationships simple. I never had been in that situation myself because I didn’t have enough funds to invest almost just before my wedding but it makes sense to keep investing funds as well as bank accounts separated until one is fully ready to be committed for the lifetime.
Ideally, I’d like to keep everything simple in my life but so far I have found that between my wife and I we still hold several separate bank accounts along with co-mingled accounts. One day, I’d like to just have one bank account and one investing account if possible. I know it can be done 🙂 Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
My wife and I comingle expenses and have a common savings. We also have separate private checking accounts and retirement funds. There are positives and negatives to this. On the plus side we have the ability to go out and make purchases without scrutinizing each other’s every move. The negative is we don’t have a complete financial picture. I for one suspect my wife isn’t putting away as much as she should for the future. This is probably a conversation we need to have sooner rather than later. But I think it is worth the independence.
Dividend Seedling recently posted…December Dividends
Well said. Your situation actually mirrors mine exactly. Like you, we have our co-mingled accounts and separate accounts as well. After almost a decade of marriage it seems to work for us. Of course, if we weren’t married that would be a different situation. As always, I appreciate your comment.
Great points. My cousin ran into this exact situation. She used some of her own money to buy into a house with her fiancé . He ended up being manipulative and she actually called off the wedding…ending up losing the “investment” in the house. Definitely best to keep finances separate until married. However, then I think co-owned accounts when married is perfectly fine and would probably help keep budgeting more straightforward. This is assuming that you marry someone with similar financial goals.
Two Investing recently posted…December 2017 Income
Love can definitely cloud the mind and judgment, especially when it comes to finances. Unfortunately, the story your shared about your cousin is probably more common than not. Until you are a legal unit I don’t think any finances should be co-mingled. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.