HAVE A PLAN: It makes great sense for couples to talk together about the best way to manage their money as a twosome, Paul Clitheroe says.
HAVE A PLAN: It makes great sense for couples to talk together about the best way to manage their money as a twosome, Paul Clitheroe says. JOEL CARRETT

Two can play the financial game

VALENTINE'S Day is around the corner and plenty of couples will celebrate romance, togetherness and commitment.

It's also a time to explore shared ideas and something worth talking about together is the way you manage your money as a twosome.

Thankfully, the old line "I earn the money, she spends it” no longer has relevance in modern relationships.

Today's lifestyles, housing commitments and our career ambitions mean that in many households both adults work, each making a valuable contribution to overall income.

Yet the question of who controls the purse strings continues to throw up some interesting responses.

I've come across all sorts of research on this issue and the general gist is that the majority of men say they make the financial decisions in a household while the majority of women believe they control the money.

Confusing, right?

The thing is, the real issue shouldn't be who controls the cash but rather how you manage your finances as a couple.

Some couples like to maintain almost entirely separate financial lives by only pooling money where necessary to pay the mortgage or rent and other shared bills. Others maintain a joint account, pooling most or part of each individual pay packet to cover household expenses and holding only a limited quantity of cash in individual accounts to coverpersonal spending likehobbies or treats.

How you run your system is a matter of choice and it is a case of determining what works best for you and your partner.

Maintaining multiple bank accounts can mean paying more in bank fees, though this can be a small price to pay if it gives you both a degree of financial independence, which in itself can be a relationship saver.

What matters is that you take the time to devise a system that works for you.

Be prepared to fine-tune your approach, or scrap it altogether if it isn't living up to expectations. The whole point of the exercise is to work as a team.

At the very least, both parties to a couple should know where household money is being spent.

Having a clear idea of your combined financial position could stand you in good stead - and help you avoid unpleasant surprises if the relationship ever hits the rocks.



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