Navigating Modern Finances as a Couple: A Unique Perspective

January 29, 2024
4 min

This article is a guest post contributed by Plenty, a wealth management platform for modern couples.

As more individuals graduate from college and enter a competitive workforce, couples are often delaying marriage to pursue their careers. Delaying marriage is also pushing off the conversations around merging finances, and dual career couples are finding a new normal around a yours / mine / ours approach.

At Plenty, our team is living this firsthand ourselves. We’re building the platform we looked for, and couldn’t find, and hope it makes things easier for you two as well.

A Survey on Modern Couples' Financial Choices

In a survey conducted by Financial Samurai, 39% of couples combine all finances, while 39% maintain hybrid finances. Let's explore three ways modern couples merge their finances.

Merging Finances Option 1: Yours / Mine / Ours

This popular choice involves couples keeping their individual accounts alongside joint ones. It fosters the best of both, which is why the majority of dual career couples opt for this hybrid approach when merging finances.

Each partner can maintain autonomy and flexible personal spending in their own accounts. Meanwhile, they also benefit from transparency and open communication in one or more shared accounts. Deciding how much money goes into shared vs individual accounts is unique to each couple.

Merging Finances Option 2: The Join-It-All Approach

This approach, most common in single-income households, fully combines a couple’s finances. Some couples who married in their early twenties also prefer this “traditional” approach of completely joining finances into one or more joint accounts.

While it ensures financial autonomy for the non-income-earning spouse, setting spending guidelines and regular communication is important for financial harmony. Fully combining finances offers full transparency to both spouses, however it can be complicated to unravel joined finances if the marriage ends in divorce without a prenup.

couples managing their finances together

Merging Finances Option 3: The What’s Yours-Is-Yours Approach

This option, typically favored by financially independent couples, maintains completely separate finances for each partner. While this may work well initially, coordination and communication become essential as shared goals emerge, especially large-scale ones like buying a home. 

Couples who don’t have very many intermingled goals, however, tend to pick this method and stick with it. Maintaining completely separate financial accounts can also be favorable to couples who came into marriage with high net worths.

The Traditional Joint Account Option

Traditionally, about 85% of couples open a joint account when they get married. Joint accounts promote financial transparency and shared responsibility. However, they may not suit all modern couples due to some potential downsides like less autonomy or even theft.

So why do 15% of modern couples choose not to open joint accounts at all? Some of the main reasons are:

  1. Financial Independence: Couples who highly value financial independence may prefer to keep their finances separate. This approach allows each person to clearly see and fully control what comes in and out of their accounts. 
  2. Autonomy: Similarly, some partners who want to be able to earn, save, spend, and invest their own money without any judgment or oversight. They feel more comfortable making independent decisions about their financial matters without having to sit down and discuss things each time or get their partner’s approval.
  3. Desire for Consistency: Change can be hard and many couples who managed their finances independently before marriage choose to continue doing so for convenience and consistency. Some couples choose to continue using their own systems and habits that may work well for them individually.
  4. High Net Worth Individuals: Couples with significant individual wealth may choose to keep their finances separate. This can help preserve the financial autonomy that the partner(s) had coming into marriage. And it can simplify how they manage their personal assets and investments.
  5. Different Financial Goals: Couples with divergent financial goals or lifestyles may find it more practical to maintain separate accounts. This allows each partner to allocate resources according to their own individual priorities.
  6. Communication Preferences: Some couples may find it challenging to navigate joint financial decisions and prefer to avoid potential conflicts. Keeping finances separate can help maintain a more harmonious relationship by minimizing discussions about money.
  7. Flexibility: Maintaining separate accounts provides flexibility in spending and budgeting. Individuals can allocate funds according to their personal preferences and adapt to changes in income or financial goals more easily.

While traditional joint accounts can offer transparency and shared financial responsibility, the decision not to open them is a personal choice influenced by each partner’s values, experiences, and financial goals. In other words, the way most joint accounts are setup and used doesn’t work for most modern couples–until now.

Enhance Your Wedding Journey with Courtly and Plenty

For couples embarking on their wedding journey through platforms like Courtly, Plenty offers tailored financial solutions once you tie the online knot. 

Plenty’s wealth management app allows couples to easily link their accounts, flexibly share details with your partner, invest towards shared goals, track spending, and understand your net worth independently and together. 

If you're actively considering how to merge finances, Plenty makes it simple. We make collaboration and privacy easy, and give you a place to work toward your goals. It’s your easy, modern solution for managing money as a couple.

Join Plenty today!

With Plenty You Can:

  • Link your separate accounts and get a bird's-eye view of your combined financial picture.
  • Flexibly choose what to share or keep private today and make changes anytime.
  • Invest and save towards shared goals like weddings, a downpayment, kids, or retirement.
  • Track your shared and individual spending.
  • Manage your shared net worth over time.
  • And much more!

We’re here to help you enjoy the journey—and—make meaningful progress toward your goals together.

Let us handle the paperwork.

Getting married is complicated. Courtly simplifies the process and provides everything necessary to get married online, including providing a licensed officiant who can perform a remote ceremony.

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