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How do I combine finances in a relationship?

You've found the right partner, but what about finding the best way to blend your finances? Whether you're looking to share accounts or just want advice on shared goals, we're here to guide you.

By ATB Financial 16 November 2022 3 min read

Money talks, but sometimes we could stand to talk about money more.

Whether you’re alone or in a relationship, your financial situation can weigh heavy on the mind. In fact, nearly four in ten Canadians (38%) say money is the factor that causes the most stress in their lives. So how can you feel more confident and less stressed? It all starts with communication and a good game plan.

By adopting smart money habits you can reduce your worry as part of a united front. Of course, finding the right blended finances fit for you depends on your style of relationship.

Before we start, let's address the big question…

Do I need to completely combine finances?

No. In fact, like a lot of relationships, there’s no one-size-fits all approach to handling finances as a team. Just like how you and your partner’s date routine might be different from another couple’s, your philosophy (and situation) for handling finances as a team might differ from your peers.

The only real essential is open, honest communication so you both know where you stand in key financial situations.There are a lot of benefits to a more blended approach, like avoiding the pitfalls of financial infidelity. By having a full financial picture, both of you have real information to work with and can make educated decisions without surprises or guesswork.

Where to start before blending finances

There are many different milestone moments that can often spark a couple taking a shared finances approach: marriage, moving in together, raising a child. It can also come about because inspiration strikes on a random Tuesday. Whatever spurs your desire to take on financial responsibilities together, there are some important things to know going in.

  • What are your personal savings goals?
  • And what are your partner’s goals?
  • Do you have future aspirations, like home ownership, that might be a shared goal?
  • Do you have debt or debt payments to consider?
  • If you have kids (together or from a previous relationship), how does that factor into the budget?
  • Are there any financial subjects that are “off limits” and what impact does this status have?

If you want to dive deeper into these questions, you can check out our Money Minded article. Not only is there helpful advice, but you can even take a short quiz to see where you’re at with your financial literacy.

What does a blended approach look like?

As we said before, not all “blended” financial situations will look the same. That’s okay! The fundamental piece of this puzzle is recognizing what works best for you and your partner. 

For example, you may want to consider a joint bank account but it’s not mandatory. Some couples enjoy the convenience of one shared account for bills and other essential spending. Other couples would rather not risk the entanglement of money and the possible legal responsibility that comes with that. The key is to make sure you have a system in place to take care of shared expenses.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of addressing what needs to be done as a team and what can be done separately. To achieve this, sit down with your partner and talk to them about what you believe to be “shared” expenses and your system for dividing up those costs. This is where a money management tool, like ATB TrackIt, can come in handy.

Something important to keep in mind

It can be easy to overlook, but it’s important to remember the emotional labour that goes into managing finances. No matter your type of relationship, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate if your shared set-up is relying too much on one person.

Where can I get personalized advice and solutions for blending finances?

We’re glad you asked! At ATB, we’re built to help Albertans and provide solutions tailored to their needs. We’re available online and in-branch to work with you on a comprehensive plan or simply provide a few answers if that’s all you’re looking for. You’ve met your match, now see how you can blend finances comfortably.

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Discover how you can find the right financial blend for you and your partner.

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