How Do Couples Choose to Combine Their Finances? The Answer May Surprise You

Lindsay Goldwert
February 4th, 2021 | 4min

In previous generations, when a couple got married, the likely next step was combining their finances into one joint account to create one pot of money from which to pay bills, manage the household, and to save and spend for goals.

In 2021, couples are doing things their own way. While many millennials are happy with the “all in” approach, more and more modern couples are choosing to keep all or part of their money separate.

Zeta examined data from over 20,000 couples to see how modern American couples are (and aren’t) merging their finances.

Here's what we found:

How Do Couples Choose to Join Their Finances?

  • 39% were fully merged or “all in.”
  • 22% chose a yours/mine/ours approach of partially merged finances or a system that allowed for individual spending while paying shared expenses from a joint account.
  • 39% had no joint account, preferring to keep finances in separate accounts

To break it down further:

  • Of the 39% were fully merged or “all in,” 80% were married 16% were living together
  • Of the 22% that chose a yours/mine/ours approach of partially merged finances or a system that allowed for individual spending while paying shared expenses from a joint account, 54% were married 35% were living together
  • Of the 39% that had no joint account and preferred to keep finances in separate accounts, 30% were married, 46% were living together

Top issues around sharing money

Taking the leap to combine finances is a big leap. Here are some of the issues that came up when couples began their journey.

Fairness: Couples wanted to feel like each person was financially contributing to the relationship in a way that was deemed fair, according to the rules set out in that relationship.

Financial independence: Couples like the idea of streamlining their shared fixed finances and splitting bills but worry that they will lose their ability to spend and save as they choose.

Incompatible money management styles: Couples worry that merging finances if they have different money styles, such as if one is a saver while the other is a spender.

Ready to learn more about joint financial planning? Check out Zeta’s easy-to-follow Guide to Combining Finances

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