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Your Money Together or Apart

Finding Love Doesn't Mean Ceding Control of Your Finances

There are necessary tasks in life that none of us enjoy, and paying bills is pretty much universally abhorred.  When you’re part of a couple, it’s tempting to leave this chore to your significant other, along with other financial planning tasks. 

While it’s natural for partners to split household duties depending on their individual strengths and preferences, finances are one area that both parties should be involved in.  Whether you have joint or personal accounts (or both) and whether you split the bills or pay them from a shared account, one hand needs to know what the other is doing where finances are concerned, especially if you’re married, since you take on marital assets and debts. 

It might be easier in the short-term to leave finances up to your partner, but in the long-run it can cause all kinds of trouble.  Here are a few reasons why women should take control of their personal finances, participate in joint finances, and generally maintain financial visibility when they’re part of a couple. 

What if you Divorce or Part Ways?

For the first time in decades, the divorce rate seems to be on the decline, but this doesn’t mean every couple enjoys lifelong marital bliss.  You don’t necessarily want to plan like you’re going to get a divorce, but if it happens, you’ll be glad you maintained some measure of financial independence and you kept track of your joint financial situation. 

The last thing you want is to have to sleuth out marital assets and debts during divorce proceedings – you need to know exactly where you stand.  In truth, even if you stay married, it’s good to have financial transparency so you and your partner can enjoy the fruits of your labor together, as well as deal with any financial issues that may arise. 

What if Your Partner Passes Away?

It happens all the time, to men and women alike.  The partner responsible for managing finances passes away or becomes incapacitated, and the person left holding the bag has to start from square one, trying to figure out how to manage expenses and find assets. 

It’s not only imperative for both parties to prepare for this possibility with savings and life insurance policies that will make the transition easier, but you need to have a centralized accounting of all financial data, including bank accounts, investments, retirement plans, deeds to property, and any important paperwork and information that a surviving partner will need to access funds in the wake of a tragic loss. 

What if You Want to Spend without Your Partner’s Approval?

When you comingle your finances, it may become impossible to spend, save, or invest independently, whether you’re a secondary earner or you’re bringing in the lion’s share of the household income.  While it certainly makes sense for both partners to contribute financially to the household, there’s no reason each person shouldn’t keep a personal account for extra income. 

If you’re both behaving responsibly by paying bills, contributing to joint savings, and participating in investments and retirement planning, why shouldn’t you have your own fun money to spend or invest as you please?  You work hard and you deserve to enjoy financial independence.  Plus, it’s going to be a lot easier to plan that surprise gift or vacation for your honey when he/she doesn’t see your personal bank statements. 

Financial independence is a right, but you have to fight for it. Partnering with the professionals at Women’s Financial Network provides access to the education, resources, and services you need to make informed decision about your finances, whether you’re single, married, or somewhere in between.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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