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Suze Orman Says Couples Should Never Do This With Their Money – The Motley Fool

Managing money as a couple can be complicated, whether you are married or in any sort of a committed relationship. Money is a leading cause of fights among couples, and trying to share your finances with a loved one can cause all sorts of challenges — especially if you have differing opinions about spending, credit card debt, or other issues.
If you’re currently sharing your life with a partner, it may be worth reading some professional advice about how to effectively manage your money together. Personal finance guru Suze Orman has provided some tips, including a warning about what couples should never do. Her warning is one you should seriously think about as you decide on your path forward.
According to Orman, the one key thing couples should steer clear of is merging their finances completely without maintaining separation or independence.

“I would never, ever have just one joint account, and that’s it. Never, ever, ever,” Orman said. Her advice comes despite the fact that she has been together with her wife for at least two decades. And she speaks from personal experience, as she and her spouse have never had a joint account together during that time.

Orman believes couples should steer clear of fully combining their finances because doing so could result in a power imbalance and could lead to a loss of independence that could be detrimental to each person’s well being.

Instead, Orman suggests having multiple accounts, including separate ones for each spouse or partner. “I would have at least three accounts or two accounts, one of your own and one of the other’s,” says Orman, “and then you decide how you’re going to split bills.”

Orman’s advice has some merit, as it is important that each person be able to maintain some autonomy when it comes to how they spend their money. If accounts are fully merged, this can lead to a lot more conflict if couples don’t agree on whether a specific purchase is necessary.
It could also result in financial infidelity, where one spouse feels the need to hide purchases from the other because of fear or judgment or fighting. This type of situation is common, with as many as 65% of men and 47% of women indicating they wanted to own an item they were prevented from having because of their relationship, and with 82% of couples admitting they argued about a purchase.

Ultimately, though, each couple will need to decide what works for them. For some people, having one shared account makes life easier and makes accomplishing joint goals more likely. For others, this type of money management is too constraining. Couples should discuss the issue together, decide what works for them, and come to a consensus that makes sense.
Whether a couple has separate or shared accounts, however, they’ll still need to work together to make money decisions — and they should make sure that both partners know where their assets are and how to handle financial choices in case something should happen to one spouse. This way, neither person will be left in a situation where they don’t have control over their own financial life.

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Christy Bieber is a personal finance and legal writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on major outlets including MSN Money, CNBC, and USA Today.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

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