Real Couples, Real Stories About Sharing Money (and Love)

Lindsay Goldwert
February 10th, 2021 | 8 min
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There’s no handbook for how to share money. And yet, millions of couples decide to take the plunge and open joint bank accounts or split their bills. There’s no one way to combine finances and you know what? That’s more than okay. Each partnership has different goals, money sharing styles, and ever-evolving families. That’s what makes each couple’s financial path unique.

These three couples, all with different approaches to shared finance, road-tested Zeta Joint Cards and told us how they see it helping them get to where they want to be in life.

Caden and Charles, Denver
Image provided by Caden and Charles
  • Ages: 23 and 22
  • Relationship status: Domestic partners, together for 4 years
  • Money Merge style: “All in”

After being together for a little over three years and becoming domestic partners, we decided that sending bill/rent money back and forth and tracking things like dinner dates was too cumbersome and didn't make sense for us. Merging our finances really helped give us a clearer picture of where we're at, and helps us to plan for future goals like a home purchase.

The largest issue was the initial transition from personal spending of 'my money' to the shared idea of 'our money.' It's something I think all couples would go through when tracking finances together, but I think it opens up a lot of productive conversations. Discussing finances together brought about a useful plan to tackle things like student loan debt together, and work towards a stronger sense of financial independence for us both.

We’ll be using Zeta Joint Cards for our primary bank so we don't have to rely on transfers back and forth, which can cause difficulty tracking finances overall. We're super excited to use Zeta to track our collective bills, provide us insights into our finances, and serve as a tool for us to lean on to keep each other's spending to stay on top of our future goals.

Before Zeta we were using Simple Bank and found that all of the features we loved were present in Zeta, plus more that we're excited to try out.

Currently our biggest goal is a home purchase. It's something that's likely still a few years down the line, but we're slowly working to save enough to feel secure in the decision–and finally stop living out of small apartments!

Sasha and Cameron, Portland, Ore.
Image provided by Cameron and Sasha
  • Ages: 42 and 39
  • Relationship status: Married, together 14 years, 2 kids
  • Money Merge style: “All in”

By our second date, we knew this relationship was the real deal. It felt natural to combine our finances early on since we’d both had shared finances in prior long-term relationships. We shared access to each other’s accounts and moved money as we needed for the first couple of years. We’d budget together using spreadsheets and treated all funds as our money no matter who earned it. After we got married, we put everything in joint accounts.

Our challenges stemmed from our entrepreneurial pursuits that put us in some very tough financial situations. Sharing everything is what helped us through those hard times and brought us closer together. Cameron was the saver and more detail-focused; she was great at tracking every subscription and worrying about how small “latte” purchases added up. Sasha prioritized increasing our income so those details wouldn’t matter.

When Sasha started bringing in a higher income and I stepped out of the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom, it was hard for me to not fall for the societal judgement of not bringing money to the table. We talked (still do!) about this often and would discuss what brought each of us joy, what our priorities were, and how to support each other in our individual and shared priorities. While Sasha is the breadwinner, I manage all of our finances and still occasionally catch myself worrying about the small things.

We used Simple and embraced zero-based envelope budgeting and moved our static spreadsheet budget and monthly bookkeeping into a real-time automated banking experience. Funds were automatically divided into expenses and goals as we scheduled them and (nearly) every transaction automatically pulled from the correct expense or goal. We’d each get notified on every transaction so we both were fully engaged. We were saving more than we ever had before and were in complete control of our finances.

Simple is closing and, after much research into other banks and stand-alone budgeting systems, Zeta looks like the most promising replacement for joint accounts. We’re looking forward to being with Zeta as it grows.

What goal are we saving for? When this pandemic is over, we want to take our two kids to Tokyo!

Emily and Shannon, Minneapolis
Imaged provided by Emily and Shannon
  • Ages: 33 and 39
  • Relationship status: Living together, together for 3.5 years
  • Money merge style: "Yours, mine, and ours"

We moved in together after having a long-distance relationship for about eight months. We previously didn’t have any shared expenses so once we moved in and started having bills that we needed to split, we figured a joint account would be the best way to both contribute. Figuring out and keeping track of which expenses were joint versus individual responsibility was probably the first challenge we had. Once we had our budget set up, making sure not to spend more than we had budgeted for was our next concern. We found that taking money out for goals and bills ahead of time, with a separate spending pile, is the absolute best way for us to save.

Better control of our budget. Previously, it felt like we were always kind of falling behind, no matter how much money we had in our account. Zeta seems like it’s going to help us keep ahead of the game instead of always trying to catch up.

We are currently saving money for a big vacation, whenever we are able to do that again. We’re also going to be saving for a house and a wedding in the near future!

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