LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 14, 2012) - When couples decide to move in together, it is usually an exciting time full of promise and new beginnings. However, joining spaces and expenses can certainly challenge any relationship and usually requires patience and compromise. How will household expenses be split? Will you start a joint account? What if one of you is a saver and the other is a spender? It shouldn't come as any surprise that the way couples deal with these issues can sometimes make or break the relationship.
"When couples move in together, it's often idyllic in the beginning," says Tanya Wilson, investment advisor at Envision Financial's South Point branch. "Everything is new and exciting but inevitably, there's a jolt in the honeymoon phase whenever financial issues arise. While it may not be the most romantic thing to talk about, I always encourage couples to discuss their financial situation fairly early on and come to a mutual agreement on how they'll handle their expenses to prevent problems from escalating."
While every situation is different, Wilson says that there are generally two common arrangements she advises couples to consider when merging their finances:
Contributing equally to the family pot
"The first arrangement is for couples to maintain their personal accounts and then redirect funds into the family pot or joint account to cover off their share of the household expenses," explains Wilson. "The benefit of this approach is that each person can be financially independent while contributing equally to their joint expenses. I usually see this with couples who are either coming into the relationship with different assets and debts or those who are entering into a second marriage, but this option also works for many people outside of these categories."
Funneling all funds and expenses into and out of a joint account
"The other common arrangement is perhaps more traditional in that both parties direct their income into a joint account and expenses all come out of this same account," says Wilson. "I often advise that the couple then establish an allowance of sorts for each other and they are able to spend that money however they'd like. It gives people the autonomy to still buy something for themselves without having to ask the other person for permission, while also ensuring they are able to save and contribute to the family."
As Wilson further explains, "by no means are these the only methods people can use to sort out their expenses. Every situation is different and what works for one couple may not work for another, but it's important to have the discussion and talk through it so you are well-equipped to deal with financial issues before they surface."
About Envision Financial
Envision Financial is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, over 169,000 members and nearly 1,400 employees. For eight years running, Envision was named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada. Envision is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada.