Pay off high-rate debt with a personal loan and save thousands. Learn more.

Money and Marriage: Making Important Money Decisions in Marriage

March 19, 2020 · 10 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Money and Marriage: Making Important Money Decisions in Marriage

Financial decisions are difficult enough on your own. But they can get even harder when you bring a significant other into the mix. After all, you both are coming from different life experiences and may have very different (often deep-seated) views on money, including how it should be spent and whether it should be saved.

Not surprisingly, money is a common cause of stress in relationships and, if left unaddressed, it can start impacting more things than just your bank account. Research consistently shows that financial problems and disagreements over money is a leading cause of divorce.

Considering how personal, and therefore complicated, each partner’s relationship with money can be, navigating money conversations can be tricky.

A great first step is to understand that financial decision-making as a couple may not come naturally, and that’s completely fine. These conversations take practice. What follows are a few strategies to try and ideas to keep in mind when making financial decisions with your partner.

8 Tips for Making Financial Decisions as a Couple

Just having a conversation about money with your significant other can be fraught. Coming to an agreement on how to manage your money is often even harder. Fortunately, these eight strategies can help.

💡 Quick Tip: Want to save more, spend smarter? Let your bank manage the basics. It’s surprisingly easy, and secure, when you open an online bank account.

1. Start Early

You don’t need to come into a first date armed with 20 questions about a person’s financial life. On the other hand, it may not be smart to wait until you’re married to talk about money either.

At the beginning stages, you might start with easy money topics, like who pays for dinner and whether or not you enjoy your jobs. With comfort and practice, you can begin to discuss weightier topics like debt and future financial goals.

The very fact that marriages are dissolving because of arguments over money makes the case for why it is so important to have these conversations early (and often). Not only are you able to practice without the stress of needing to take immediate action, but you can get a feel for how your partner navigates money decisions.

And if you find that you are with someone who holds wildly different values about money, it can be a good idea to address these issues before making any further commitments to this person.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

2. Make a Date to Talk

Your instincts might tell you to dive headfirst into a big money talk in order to get it the heck out of the way. But this may not be your best strategy. Instead of bringing up the topic of money out of the blue, you might give your partner some notice.

No one is their best self when they feel caught off guard. A conversation about a tough financial decision will likely be more productive when there are two calm, prepared people at the table.

You might simply set a time to talk about the financial decision at hand. Or, you might want to make it into a “real” date and treat yourself to a coffee at the local shop or pick up your favorite take-out dinner.

No matter how you do it, the most important thing is that you have a designated time for the talk. This strategy can be applied to discussing one particular financial decision, or you can utilize it on a regular basis.

Recommended: How to Budget As a Couple and Why It’s Important

3. Write It Out

Sometimes, it’s simply hard to communicate how you feel. This is especially true for topics that affect us deeply and in confusing ways, like money. If you and your partner are people that like to put their feelings down in writing, consider writing each other a letter prior to your financial “date.”

In your letter, you might include some background on how you were raised to think about money, your money stressors, and your financial goals. Focus the letter on yourself and from where your financial beliefs stem.

Not only will this help your partner understand where you are coming from, but it can also provide you with some very useful introspection about money and your system of values.

Recommended: How Marriage Can Affect Your Student Loan Payments

4. Be Prepared to Listen

When making financial decisions, your main objective should not be to explain your point of view. To have a truly productive conversation, you must be committed to listening, too. This is good practice in all conversations with your partner and loved ones, but especially when talking about financial decisions.

Here’s the thing about making financial decisions: It’s rarely black and white and, generally, there is no right and no wrong. Being open to listening often translates into being open to learning.

Not only is your partner’s perspective important, but you might even be able to learn something from them. We’re all learning as we go anyway, and by listening, you have a chance to learn and evolve as a couple.

Recommended: Financial Planning Tips for Newlyweds

5. Be Communicative

One key to having a productive and healthy conversation regarding a financial decision with your partner is to communicate your feelings, thoughts, and fears. Something that seems obvious to you may not be obvious to them, so give your partner the benefit of explaining yourself in a calm and thorough way.

When you communicate, try to stick with talking about how you feel regarding a matter and avoid making declarations about what your partner has done in the past or what you’re hoping that they will do in the future.

Making comments about how a person is spending can quickly turn accusatory, putting them on the defensive. Even when having tough conversations, do your best to remove judgment from the equation.

Also, it’s best not to assume that just because you have explained something to your partner once, that they understand what you mean and where you are coming from. Don’t lose your cool if you have to remind your partner what’s important or a priority to you, especially if your priorities don’t align on this particular issue.

Recommended: Common Money Fights

6. Crunch the Numbers

Sometimes, the numbers help guide financial decision-making within a relationship. It can be worth taking the time to figure out exactly how each financial decision would play out over the short and long term.

By breaking big costs down into monthly numbers, you and your partner can see on paper what is possible (and what isn’t). The exercise may provide a new perspective altogether or, at the very least, get you on the same page regarding the different options with your money.

If you feel at a loss for what you should be focusing on or how to accomplish your goals, you may want to hire a financial expert, such as a credentialed financial planner. Some financial guidance from a person skilled in financial planning could be just what a couple needs to step up their money game.

7. Compromise

If you’re in a partnership, you already know that compromise is the name of the game. The good news is that with money, compromising is not only possible but often ideal. For example, you do not have to pick just one savings goal to work on at a time. Financial decisions don’t have to be “one or the other.”

Also, know that there is no perfect formula for how a couple makes financial decisions. Just because your best friend and her spouse divide their finances in a certain way or prioritize certain money goals over others doesn’t mean that you have to do it this way. Part of compromise with your partner is abandoning the idea that your partnership should work like anyone else’s.

8. Put Plans Into Action

Once you’ve hashed out your money goals and fears with your honey, and made some key financial decisions together, it’s a good idea to come up with an actionable plan to make your shared goals a reality.

If you’ve decided that you want to purchase a home in two years, for example, figure out how much of a downpayment you’ll need and, then, how much money you need to siphon into savings each month to reach your goal. You might then set up an automatic transfer from your checking account(s) and into your joint savings account each month.

A fringe benefit of making financial decisions as a couple is that you have a built-in accountability buddy to make sure you follow through on your plan and don’t spend that savings on something else.

💡 Quick Tip: If you’re saving for a short-term goal — whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or the down payment on a house — consider opening a high-yield savings account. The higher APY that you’ll earn will help your money grow faster, but the funds stay liquid, so they are easy to access when you reach your goal.

Smart Money Decisions Couples Make

Here’s a look at some smart money moves you may want to make as a couple:

•   Opening joint accounts While some couples prefer to keep all of their money separate, having a joint bank account (or two) can simplify your finances and make it easier to work towards your shared goals.

•   Labeling your savings Having separate savings accounts for separate goals (even giving them labels, like a “downpayment” or “vacation” account) can help you stay on track and reach your goals sooner. Some savings accounts have a sub-savings account feature, which allows you to split funds in one primary savings account into separate categories.

•   Automate your savings It can be smart to set up recurring automated transfers from your checking account(s) to your savings and investment accounts based on your goals.

•   Increase your emergency reserve Your emergency fund should be large enough to cover living expenses — for both of you and any dependents — for anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on your situation.

Recommended: Survey Says: Couples That Pool Finances Are Happier

The Takeaway

Talking about money with your partner isn’t always easy, but having honest discussions about your financial situation and goals is critical. This can help you find common ground, make important financial decisions as a couple, and come up with a plan that can make your shared goals and dreams a reality.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Should married couples make financial decisions together?

Even if you don’t merge all of your money, it can be a good idea to work together on some key financial decisions that will impact both of your futures. Making financial decisions together can have multiple benefits, including increased closeness and trust, less conflict over money, and better financial outcomes.

How should money be split in a relationship?

There are several methods couples can use when managing money and covering their living expenses. One option is to merge all or some of your funds in a joint bank account and use it to pay for shared expenses. Another is to keep separate accounts, but each make equal payments towards shared expenses.

A third approach you might consider is to split bills proportionally based on each partner’s income. So if one partner makes 70% of the total household income, they would then cover 70% of shared expenses, while the other partner would pay for 30%.

What are financial red flags in a relationship?

Financial red flags are money issues that are either currently causing problems in a relationship or have the potential to do so in the future. While they are not necessarily deal-breakers, they are harbingers of future relationship and financial strain. If you notice any of the following six signs, it’s important to deal with them promptly, ideally before your life is too intertwined with your partner’s.

•   Unwillingness to discuss money

•   Excessive credit card or other debt

•   Flaunting their wealth

•   Severe frugality

•   Using money to manipulate or shame

•   Keeping secrets or telling lies about money

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender