|Y'all my sister got married last year! This was a lot of fun.|
Photo Credit to the amazing Bonnie J Heath Photography
You and your boyfriend/girlfriend/romantic partner/flame/sweet heart/babe/one and only/spouse/significant other/mate/husband/wife/better half/lover look great in pictures, but what does your financial picture look like? I’ve heard stories of people bringing up finances on a first date, or even in a Tinder profile, but that is generally monumental jerks bragging about how much they make (read: exaggerating) but that is probably a little too soon. On the flip side, I have heard of people not finding out about significant debts until after the ceremony. If you are trying to figure out an appropriate time to bring up finances, try some time in between these two examples.
- The technical workings of this will depend on what makes sense to you, but one way would be to have a joint checking account that you each contribute to. Each partner contributes his or her share on a regular basis. Another method is just assigning different expenses to each other. If this is the route you take, keep in mind that expenses can change so it is fair to take a look at these on a regular basis to make sure each partner is happy with what they are paying.
- With regular expenses it is very important that communication be open, honest and frequent. Since most expenses occur on a monthly basis, take the time to go over expenses and contributions at least that often. This is a good time to make sure that you are still on budget and talk about any financial issues that have come up.
- There is no right or wrong way to determine a fair contribution. If one partner makes substantially all of the money, it may make sense for them to contribute most or all of the money for expenses. If incomes are roughly equal, an even split makes sense. Determine what works for you. In general, the split matters less the higher your income is above your joint expenses. For example, if your joint expenses are $2,000 per month and each partner makes $1,000 per month there are not many ways to make that split, but for the same level of expense and each partner making $10,000 per month, neither may care that much how much they have to contribute. For meaningful, but unequal incomes, a fair method may be to do a rough ratio. If one partner makes $10,000 per month and the other makes $4,500 per month, the partner with the lower income could contribute one third and the partner with the larger income could contribute two thirds of their joint expenses. It doesn’t have to be difficult or terribly precise so long as each partner is understanding and happy with the outcome.