Combining credit & accounts with your partner

Even with the best and most well-adjusted new couples or newlyweds, money can be an enormous stressor on a relationship. Combining finances can be difficult. 

Often it takes years for someone to figure out their own deal with money, and it is that much harder to integrate your significant other into your finances. 

There are multiple factors at play when you decide to combine (or maybe not combine!) your finances with your partner.

Allocation

First thing to consider is allocation of income. How will the money be shared? Some have separate accounts; some have a single communal account. 

Some even split the difference and control their own accounts, with a third communal account for bills and expenses that are shared. In terms of what is better is largely dependent on the couple and their own mentalities towards money and the freedom they desire.

Budgeting

Budgeting is another factor that a lot of single people don’t think about, but it can be crucial for a joint couple. With a single bank account, tracking the money flow can be as easy as looking at your account, but with multiple accounts, credit cards, incomes and spending goals, it is important to know exactly where everyone is money is going. 

Often times, couples have bigger financial goals than single people, like going on a big vacation, buying that house or having a baby. Deciding on and keeping a budget can not only help organize your household money flow, but can also help the couple reach those planned goals without resentment for each other if contributions are skewed.

What about credit?

There are pros and cons of “sharing” credit with your partner. Individuals will always have their own score, even if married, but there are many ways couples can “share” credit, particularly by becoming joint cardholders or authorized users on each other’s credit cards. 

This can be a positive because it is a good way to maximize those credit card bonuses, like cash back and airline miles. Some cards also reward you just for having joint users. It can also be easier just for paying bills- no more arguing whose turn it is for groceries. 

If one partner has better credit, they can also help raise the others credit by boosting their positive credit markers. Of course, this goes both ways. If your significant other makes a mistake, your credit can take a hit as well. If both have good credit, it might not be worth

Sometimes being married helps with taxes when you choose to file jointly, but sometimes those with two high incomes might get hit with that “marriage penalty.” This means that they  get taxed at a higher rate than they would as individuals. So think about how to do you taxes wisely.

Combining your finances can be positive if done well. However, some people decide not to combine too much. This is dependent on the couple and their goals together and individually. Talk as a partnership through all possible areas of finance, and find out what works for you.

Written By Jeromy Sonne

Written on June 11, 2015

Self Lender is a venture-backed startup that helps people build credit and savings. Comments? Questions? Send us a note at hello@selflender.com.

Ready to join Self Lender?


comments powered by Disqus