Until you are legally bound to another person, do not mingle your finances. It may be tempting, especially if you believe that you are on the path to marriage but untangling your finances is more difficult that you could possibly imagine and the financial ramifications can last for years.
- Keep your bank accounts separate. If you opt for a common account for bill-paying purposes, keep your separate savings and checking accounts and only put enough money into the joint account to cover your half of the payments. It would be wise for both partners to put a small “cushion” of money into the account that both partners contributed to equally.
- Keep your credit separate and don’t share numbers. You don’t have to be paranoid about hiding your statements but don’t write down your account number for him to buy something because that slip of paper can take on a life of it’s own. If he can’t afford his own trinkets, you shouldn’t be buying them for him.
- Guard your social security number/social insurance number/other government identification number as though your life depended on it.
- File your income taxes separately. Remember that government identification number you’re guarding? It gets listed on your income tax documents.
- Do not make major purchases together. Houses, cars, timeshares – you can’t cut them in half, you have to pay your way out of them.
- Do not list him/her as the beneficiary of your life insurance until you’re married. Why give someone a reason to kill you?
If, for some reason, you do mingle your finances – keep a paper-trail. Document everything, keep receipts, and where necessary – get it in writing (and notarized!). You don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s irresponsibility. Share cupcakes, not finances.