How Soon Should You and Your Partner Discuss Your Bank Accounts?

Sooo, what's your credit score?

It’s not very romantic but it’s real. You’ve met a great person, possibly “the one,” so … when does money start to factor into the equation? How soon should you be asking someone about his or her credit card debt, and when is the right time to merge bank accounts if you get serious?

As tradition holds, when most couples get married, they discuss merging bank accounts, but it’s not always easy. Many people experience a loss of independence when they don't have their own bank account, and merged accounts can create headaches for couples who aren't communicating properly about their spending habits.

As a result, nearly one in five married couples keep their checking accounts separate from their spouse, says a new study from Credit Loan.

Even couples who merge their bank accounts may not be sharing everything. Shared savings (76 percent) and credit cards (70 percent) out of 1,000 people were less common than shared checking accounts, and unmarried couples in relationships were more likely to give their partners money without repayment and buy them expensive gifts.

Nineteen percent of married participants loaned their spouse an expensive item, and 16 percent loaned their spouse money with repayment.

While one in 10 married couples didn't share finances at all, keeping things simple was the most popular reason among four in five married people when asked why they combined their money. Sixty-three percent of people in a relationship but not married said merging money made it easier for them to budget, followed by keeping it simple (62 percent), paying shared bills (60 percent), and for added transparency and honesty (46 percent).

Making it easier to budget was also the most common reason why both married and unmarried people chose to keep finances separate.

Married couples said they sometimes regretted sharing their finances. While sharing an account helped towards shared goals, not communicating about finances often enough often created conflict as well. Shared credit cards were among the most common concerns for married people, and loaning money was a burden shared by more than one in 10 married people.

Money is important, like it or not. One in 10 people admitted to dumping someone as a result of messy finances, including someone living beyond their means, not having a job, and always expecting the other party to pay for things surfacing as major problems.

Younger generations tended to merge accounts while dating, including checking, savings, or credit cards. With couples of all ages, when asked about shared finances, husbands were more likely than wives to regret consolidating money matters. Women were also more likely to wait until marriage to combine their accounts, although less likely to consider it a necessity.

Roughly one in 10 married couples didn't share any of their finances at all, and didn’t consider it a problem.

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