Merge Your Money Seamlessly


Author Martha Baer does the math on sharing finances as a couple.

David Bach, author of Smart Couples Finish Rich: 9 Steps to Creating a Rich Future for You and Your Partner, says of his wife, "If Michelle buys me a gift for mybirthday, I don't want to know what she pays for it." While others worry about knowing too little if they keep separate buckets, he worries about knowing too much if they don't.

But ultimately, in today's relationships, expert prescriptions make as much sense as calling my mother Herbie. Being wary of the pitfalls of multiple accounts is key: you don't want to get ripped off by your bank, you don't want your spouse copping drugs on the sly.

But our contemporary relationships—all the myriad, nuanced ways in which we come together and part, in which we meet, nest, forget, or don't—are blessedly free of assumptions and rules. Lovers weave their financial lives together in different ways to accommodate amazingly varied experiences and emotional needs.

So if it takes six accounts to sustain the magic of your union, or if three checkbooks is the best expression of your dreams and alternate selves, why not go with it? Sprinkle away, honey.

I remember my parents' checkbook. It was spiral bound with three checks per page and on each check it read: Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Baer. (It's a shame they don’t name boys Herbie any more; or for that matter Dad's middle name: Irving.)