After a few months (or years) of "I'll get the groceries if you pay for the vet bill," you might decide it's the right time to take the next step in your relationship with your significant other and combine your finances. Quite frankly, it might just be the biggest step two people could take together. "To have and to hold" is an important promise, but "to share and to spend my hard-earned paycheck" has its own heavy significance in your everyday life.
It can inspire fights.
Money is a source of friction in many relationships. A 2014 survey from Time reported that 70 percent of couples argued about money. In fact, financial spats came in ahead of all other relationship friction points, including household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring and what's for dinner.
You will each have different views about money.
It's not always as simple as "one of us is the saver, the other is the spender" (although it might be). But you will likely each come to the relationship with different perspectives on things like "fun" money, how much you need to keep in savings and what's considered a personal expense. Which brings us to the final truth...
Communication is the most important thing.
You'll decide what works for your relationship. There's no "right" answer for whether you should split bills proportionally or if you should keep a personal savings account for yourself once you start to combine finances. The only thing you have to do once you start to combine finances is communicate.
Budget together. Sit down and talk about your money goals a few times a year. As part of my new year's resolution, I'm making a plan for my husband and I to sit down quarterly and have a sort of "state of the union" chat about where our money's going and to put a magnifying glass to our savings plans. It's all in the name of being open and honest with each other and ourselves.
When did you decide to combine finances with your significant other? How do you handle money in your relationship?