As one of the most notorious problems a marriage or relationship may face, money and financial issues often cause strain among millions of couples. A study published by Business Insider found that — during the first and third years of marriage — money matters were the most commonly reported source of marital arguments and that couples with high amounts of debt generally have lower levels of satisfaction in their marriages.
Each couple has its own way of sharing the household income and responsibilities. Some couples have a “you pay this bill, I’ll pay that bill” approach, where they each cover some of the household expenses. Others use a system of proportion where, based on each partner’s income, each pays their share of the bills.
To gain a little more insight on how married couples share finances these days, we asked Scott Winkler, certified public accountant and founder and principal of Winkler Financial Planning, LLC, in Georgia. He says that in his experience, he sees arrangements where “one spouse will manage all of the finances…[in many cases,] the couple will combine and share all of the household income.” Winkler says he only occasionally sees couples using systems where income is separated. However, he adds that separating income, or proportion arrangements are “a bit more common in a second marriage or [in instances where] one person has a situation occur…maybe a bankruptcy.”
Many married couples use “mental accounting,” says Winkler. He explains how couples will mentally allocate a source of income to a specific bill or responsibility. “Some couples decide that one spouse’s income is going to go to savings…”