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Splitting expenses, staying together

In a world where sharing a home need not mean sharing a bank account, it pays to have a strategy when it comes to splitting expenses. Before money becomes a relationship hurdle – we’ve all been there– ensure that you and your partner have a fair financial system.

You’ve tapped into your talents, disproved the doubters – including the one in the mirror – and done the hard time. You’re finally financially independent and now you’re expected to sacrifice that? Not on your life!

True love means never having to feel like you’re financially disempowered. If you’re panicked at the thought of a joint bank account – no matter how committed you and your partner may be – don’t despair. Sharing expenses needn’t require just one shared bank account.

I’ve found that having three accounts: one for you, one for your partner and one shared account for joint expenses, is generally a successful strategy. This also helps couples to put money aside for shared monthly bills ensuring they’re not spending cash that’s already allocated elsewhere. Here’s how it works:

Determine which expenses you’ll share

Paying off a property you bought before coupling up, which you’re now renting out? Taking a weekly dance class or completing an online qualification? Probably expenses for your own account.

Yet, if you and your partner are sharing bond repayments and household insurance, or financing the kid’s school fees – the joys of parenthood! – it makes sense to share those expenses. No two couples are the same though, so as long as you both agree on what constitutes a shared expense, you’re on the right track. Creating a joint account implies a level of trust and shared financial goals – hallmarks of a healthy relationship.

A percentage game

Since it’s highly unlikely that you and your significant other earn precisely the same amount of money, contributing the same amount to your joint account and splitting costs 50/50 is unlikely to be a fair strategy. Rather we advise couples to work out what they owe based on what percentage of total household income they earn.

Then add up your monthly shared expenses – a list you’ll decide upon together – and multiply that by your percentage of household income to determine your monthly contributions.

Above all, stay flexible – as we know, the cost of living rarely remains constant – and keep talking. We’re here to help you along the way.

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