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Do you know how much your partner is spending? More couples separate their finances

The "yours, mine and ours" approach
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Posted at 8:10 AM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 09:25:32-05

Finances and budgeting are not the most romantic conversation starters this Valentine's Day season, but as your partner peruses the dinner menu for appetizers and desserts, you may be tallying prices in your head trying to keep the meal under $100— including tip.

Let's face it. Someone in your relationship likes to splurge more than the other— whether it be on clothes, home decor or that full-course dinner— but how much of that splurging do you or your partner see?

Including all generations, 38 percent of couples who are married or living together now have a mix of joint and separate bank accounts, according to Bankrate.

It's called the "yours, mine and ours" approach.

"That involves combining most of your money because you do have a lot of joint expenses," said Bankrate senior industry analyst Ted Rossman, "but also carving out some that you can each call your own."

The parameters look different for each couple. You and your spouse may get married with separate accounts and keep it that way. Some couples may designate $100 per pay period for individual spending outside their shared account.

"That can actually make you feel better about certain types of spending and the other person's not looking over your shoulder," Rossman said. "It can actually be a nice way to be independent but still be honest and work toward your financial goals."

Surveying across generations, 39 percent of married couples or those living with a partner combine their finances, and 24 percent have separate finances.

Rossman said there is no right or wrong way to divvy up finances. It's only problematic when secrets are involved.

"About four in 10 Americans who are married or otherwise living with a partner have kept or are keeping secrets from that person," he said, "like secret spending and secret debt and the secret bank and credit card accounts. We don't want the secrets."

Every couple should make its own decisions. Whatever you decide Rossman said to make sure you and your partner agree on the framework, and no matter the plan, make sure you're both working toward the same financial goals.