Considerations for Couples Who Choose Not to Combine Their Finances

Being part of a couple means combining much of your lives, and for some couples, that includes their finances. But what if you and your partner don’t want to combine your finances? After all, being together doesn’t mean you have to share everything!

No matter your motivations for keeping your finances separate, you and your partner can still benefit from discussing how you’d like to navigate your finances as a couple. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Reasons for keeping your finances separate

There can be many reasons to keep your finances separate in a relationship, and they will vary from couple to couple. Perhaps partners don’t want to assume each other’s debts or don’t want their individual credit scores impacted by someone else’s actions. Maybe your philosophies about spending and saving are very different, or one person is working toward paying down a significant debt. Or, one partner might be supporting a former spouse or child from a previous relationship, and you’ve decided that keeping separate finances will simplify things.

Splitting bills and expenses

If you don’t combine your finances as a couple, you’ll likely still want to work out a system for splitting expenses. Together, you can determine a budget for major recurring expenses (think rent or mortgage payments, groceries, utilities, household items, etc.) and settle on how each of you will contribute to those expenses. Does it feel fair for you both to contribute the same percentage of your income? Would you rather split bills evenly? Or would trading expenses monthly (for example, one month you pay the rent, and the next month your partner does) work for you?

Planning for the future

If you don’t combine finances with your partner, how you plan for your financial future together might require some more intentional decision making. How will you reach your individual goals for retirement, for example, as a couple? And how will you handle financial hardships, as a couple, if they occur? What if one partner loses their job or is unable to work? It’s important to consider these questions and more.

Life insurance might factor into this conversation as well. Even if you haven’t combined your finances, you still want to ensure your partner is protected if you pass away unexpectedly. Getting term life insurance, for example, can provide financial protection for a set number of years.