Top 7 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Merging Finances With a Partner

By Susan


Last Updated: September 20, 2021


Combining your finances as a spouse may seem like a good idea. After all,  you have a lot of expenditures in common. It only makes sense right?

You might be surprised to learn that 20% of people regret merging their bank accounts with their spouse. It’s also common for money quarrels with significant others to happen at least once a week.

You'll want to avoid the disastrous outcomes that many couples face when they commit one or more of these seven frequent financial blunders. 

When you avoid these common joint account mistakes, you may find peace of mind and financial security.


1. Putting Your Finances Together Too Soon

People should not feel hurried to merge their money as a partnership. 

One person may be very young and four years into a secure career with a few thousand dollars in savings, while another may be beginning medical school with a student loan debt of over $150,000. Merging finances here may prove too much of a burden on one of the partners. 

So, when do the majority of individuals combine their finances? 

According to, 69% of married couples combine their money, while 16% of engaged couples and 13% of unmarried couples living together do so as well.

One of the first decisions you must make before merging your money is how much to share.


This is a financial budget in which you and your partner each have a joint account for shared spending while also maintaining separate accounts for personal needs. 

This will not only offer you both a strong sense of belonging in terms of financial management of the home, but it will also allow you both financial liberty in terms of purchasing personal items.

Consider a fair agreement.

When one individual earns considerably more money than the other, the other choice becomes complicated. In this case, splitting expenditures 50/50 may appear unjust because one of them has considerably more purchasing power than the other.

However, before transferring any cash, it is strongly advised to establish a formal agreement. Don't be alarmed! In most situations, your lawyer isn't required to become involved. 

Consider the agreement to be more of an informal pact between the two of you. For the sake of fairness, it might assist you and your sweetheart in sticking to your agreement.

This is a lot more solid than your girlfriend or boyfriend promising to pay the utilities every month, but after a year, you find yourselves sharing the bill for whatever reason.


2. Not Distinguishing Between Shared and Personal Expenses

The significance of distinguishing between shared and personal costs cannot be overstated. 

The worst thing that may happen is for your spouse to spend money on something he or she believes both of you desire but you don't want to spend any money on.

Consider the following excellent example: Investing in new bedding. Even if you both use the blanket, your spouse may have selected a less expensive one.

When determining whether a purchase is a shared expenditure, consider the following questions:

  • Is this something you both agree on? 
  • Is it something you both desire or require? 

If you answer no to either question, the spending will be classified as personal. 


3. Failure to Set Savings and Spending Goals

Setting up a joint account without first deciding on savings and spending goals might be disastrous. 

Let's assume you want to save money for a down payment on a house, but your partner wants to go on more trips and have more nights out. You can immediately see the problems that this might bring if not addressed.

Sit down together as a pair and have an honest discussion about your priorities. 

You could discover that one of you is a diehard saver, while the other prefers to spend their hard-earned money towards something more enjoyable.

Try to find a happy medium that benefits both parties. 

The saver may be content knowing that they reach a monthly savings target, whereas the spender may be content knowing that they have a monthly budget set aside for enjoyable activities. 

You must learn to successfully compromise and put your partner's feelings and ideals first.


4. Sharing Money With Family or Friends

When your significant other spends your money on items that are largely for them, you may feel deceived and resentful.

One of the most difficult financial difficulties to address is when one spouse has a family member in financial trouble. It's normal to want to support someone you care about, but it's difficult to keep the help going, and the money will not be returned.

Co-managing finances and fulfilling each spouse's goals, aspirations, and expectations for their extended family may be especially challenging. Consider Patrick and Renee. 

  • Her mother is arranging a trip to Las Vegas. 
  • His family is in dire need of a new automobile. 
  • Her younger brother is unable to pay his rent. 
  • His sister's husband was fired from his job. 

So now one spouse is writing a check, while the other is questioning as to why the money wasn't used to cover household expenses or pay for a family vacation. 

When a major crisis happens, such as illness, a major storm, or early death, the pressure might be magnified.


5. Secret Expenditures

Keeping secrets from each other may damage your relationship far more quickly than you realize. 

When it comes to money management, the same concept applies. Sharing funds with someone necessitates a high level of trust, and losing that trust may jeopardize everything.

Massive debt, shopping sprees, addictions (betting, drugs, etc.) are all possible secrets. Trying to keep these truths hidden instead of discussing them openly and honestly would result in far more irreversible damage.

If you discuss these concerns with your partner ahead of time, he or she may be able to assist and support you in dealing with and overcoming them. 

They genuinely care about you, which they may demonstrate by boosting their readiness to assist you with your most pressing problems.


6. Personality Differences

Personality traits may have a significant influence on how individuals talk about money and spend it. 

Even if neither partner is in debt, the age-old conflict between savers and spenders can emerge in a variety of ways. Understanding your own and your partner's financial personalities is essential, as is discussing these differences openly. 

When each partner has a different financial personality, financial difficulties might arise, causing marriages to fall apart. That is to say, they have opposing viewpoints on money. 

One partner, for example, maybe a spender – someone who enjoys purchasing new items and isn't afraid to pay a high price for them. The other is a saver who prefers to look for bargains. If left untreated, this difference might have significant implications. d

The best way to handle it is to talk about it openly and gently. Each of you should express your concerns and devise a spending plan that meets both of your needs.

In a nutshell, some people are natural savers who are thrifty and risk-averse, while others are big spenders who want to make a statement, and still, others like shopping and buying. 

Others carelessly accumulate debt, while others are natural savers who postpone satisfaction in favor of future self-sufficiency. Many of us may display more than one of these characteristics at the same time, but we usually adhere to one primary kind. 

Regardless of which profile you and your spouse most closely match, it's essential to recognize bad behaviors, confront them, and restrict them.


7. Different Ways of Assisting Others

The final blunder to avoid on this list is failing to address your reaction when a friend or family member approaches you and asks for money.

If you and your partner have pooled all of your funds and your brother texts you asking for a few hundred dollars, problems can quickly arise. 

Is it your responsibility to tell your brother, no? What is your partner's reaction going to be? These ideas will almost certainly cross your mind.

The simplest answer to this problem would be to have some money in your account. You'd have your own money, which you could lend to your brother as you saw appropriate. 

Whether or not that is the case, you should talk to your spouse ahead of time to determine if they are okay lending (i.e., donating) money to relatives or friends, and if so, how much.


Final Thoughts

Sharing finances as a couple has several advantages and may save you a significant amount of time and money. 

Some of the most serious issues that emerge from merging money can be avoided altogether if the proper talks and agreements are held ahead of time. 

Communicate openly about your financial conditions with each other, and work hard to reach agreements that leave both of you pleased with your spending.



Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels


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