You’re having a casual conversation with your partner when both of your eyes pan toward the heart-shaped box containing the last remaining caramel-filled truffle. You begin to assess both your physical capabilities as you realize you’d rather wrestle for it than have to split it in half. You are driven. Motivated. And no one is going to stand between you and that truffle.
Sometimes sharing is the last thing you want to do. But there is one thing that we love to share: love. When we’re in love, we want to share our time, our space, our thoughts, our dreams, even our children. We share these things naturally because that’s what you do when you’re in a relationship. But the verdict is still out on whether it is expected — or even good — to share our finances.
There are definite pros and cons to being financially joined to your sweetheart. Pros would be things like lower banking fees and tax credits. Cons are things like credit risk and lack of privacy. And while it may seem that this decision is purely a financial one, sharing a bank account also has significant effects on the quality of your relationship itself. Since it’s February, the month of love, we’re going to talk about the positive aspects of combining your finances. Here are five ways that joining bank accounts with your spouse will improve your love life.
1. Joining accounts gets you in sync.
When you join your finances with your partner, you are much more likely to have regular discussions on financial goals, spending and saving. These money conversations are excellent gateway conversations to all kinds of other important topics many couples will never approach. If you are having good conversations about monthly budgets, you’re probably also getting to know each other better by talking about things that you value, your short- and long-term dreams and even insecurities you have that affect the way you handle money. It’s talks like these that foster intimacy, bring you closer together and keep you on the same team. When the money conversations start clicking, so will everything else.
2. Joining finances keeps you on equal footing.
Money has a tendency to become a proxy for power in relationships. When you have separate bank accounts, there is a clearly “richer” partner. Having an unequal mentality in a relationship can breed things like entitlement or low self-esteem, as well as encourage secret spending. Joining finances is an outward expression of your commitment to equality in the relationship, regardless of who earns more.
3. Joint accounts put trust at the forefront.
Nothing is more important to the stability of your relationship than a strong sense of security. When you give your spouse full access to your assets, you are saying with much more than words that you trust him or her entirely. And when you both feel trusted, you will feel more free to love fully.
4. Sharing bank accounts teaches you to extend grace and forgive.
Whether or not you join finances, you will both make mistakes. And when you share an account, it’s impossible to hide them. You can use these opportunities to build a habit of regularly extending grace to your spouse. This will carry over into other areas of your marriage, making the relationship a safer place to be honest when it comes to making mistakes.
5. Having one bank account puts you on the same team.
When finances are looking bleak, it is isolating and stressful to have to face it alone. It can make all the difference in the world to have someone to cheer you on in hard times. Likewise, it makes the good times even sweeter when you and your spouse share equally in the financial gain.
Whether you’re on the fence about combining finances with your spouse, or just want some reassurance that joining was a good decision, these relational benefits put one more tick mark in the pro column for being one financially.
If you’re looking for a creative and low-cost way to say, “I care” this February, I challenge you to work these five benefits into a homemade Valentine’s Day card (extra points if you can rhyme them).
Carrie and her husband, Derek, write, speak and podcast about how having better conversations on money strengthens a marriage. Find more benefits of engaging the money discussion in your relationship in their new book, One Bed, One Bank Account. Meet up with them on their book tour through the United States in Spring 2015. Check to see if they’re coming to your city on their website, derekandcarrie.com.
Photo by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/freedigitalphotos.net