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For love or money: four couples tell us how they organise their joint finances

Published July 12th, 2021

How much money do they have at their disposal each month? Do they have a joint account or not and are they putting money aside for their old age? Four couples reveal how they organise their everyday finances.

There are many ways to organise your finances in a relationship. We asked four couples how they tackle the issue and what their priorities are for our new Money Matters format “Finance Check”. Let’s get started:

How Anne and Christoph organise their finances:

Both 32 years old, both high school teachers, married, two children.

How much money do you have at your disposal each month?

Approx. €4,300.

Who earns the most?

Christoph.

How do you organise your finances? 

We pool our earnings and pay everything from one pot. I (Anne) am currently on parental leave, but once I get back to work, we will both earn the same salary. But even if one of us earned more, we would still organise everything via one joint account and not on a percentage basis according to our salaries.

What kind of account do you have and why?

We have a joint current account that our wages are paid into and from which we pay pretty much all our everyday expenses. And each of us also has our own current account that we use for savings or to buy gifts.  

How are you planning for your old age? 

We each have our own pension plan and a savings account for the children.

Would you both have financial security if you were to split up?

Yes, we would.

What is particularly important to you in your relationship when it comes to money? 

Transparency and good communication. Which doesn’t mean that everything we buy needs to be discussed, but big investments should be communicated and given the green light by each of us. Of course that means we both have to have a similar understanding of “expensive” and “cheap”, which luckily we do.

How Mirella and Davide organise their finances 

39 and 37 years old, Mirella works in PR and Davide in the public sector, married, no children.

How much money do you have at your disposal each month?

€5,600.

Who earns the most?

Davide.

How do you organise your finances? 

We have a joint account for the rent, additional costs, all purchases, household spending, eating out, holidays etc. We each pay quite a big amount (proportionate to our incomes) into it every month. We both have a debit card for the joint account and pay for everything from that.

How are you planning for your old age? 

We each make separate provisions for our old age. We both invest in shares and ETFs, and Davide also has a company pension and I have a private retirement plan.

Would you both have financial security if you were to split up? 

Yes.

What is particularly important to you in your relationship when it comes to money? 

That it’s uncomplicated – but thankfully we are both very relaxed when it comes to money. Basically, it should also be fair. And if any problems arise, they should be discussed right away.

How Lena and Jonas organise their finances

Both 26 years old, both students, Lena is currently doing a marketing internship and Jonas is a student trainee, not married, no children.

How much money do you have at your disposal each month?

€2,700.

Who earns the most?

We each earn the same amount.

How do you organise your finances? 

We split all general costs 50/50. We have a joint account that we both pay the same amount into every month. From that we buy groceries and pay the rent. If larger investments are planned, such as a new kitchen, Jonas will usually pay the full amount in advance and then I’ll transfer him my share later because he has a bigger nest egg than I do.

How are you planning for your old age? 

We both put money aside each month.

Would you both have financial security if you were to split up? 

As long as we are both working, yes, definitely.

What is particularly important to you in your relationship when it comes to money?

That we can speak openly about it without either of us feeling uneasy or awkward. And that everything is divided fairly and we both agree with what the other one is spending. We also want to keep things as simple as possible, which is why we also have the joint account – otherwise we would have ridiculously long lists of every little thing we buy each month.

How Jessica and Thomas organise their finances 

30 and 31 years old, Jessica works as a bookkeeper, Thomas works in the public sector and also studies on the side, not married, one child.

How much money do you have at your disposal each month?

Currently around €3,000.

Who earns the most?

We both earn around €1,500 (net) each month, but Thomas works 20 hours a week and I work 30 hours a week.

How do you organise your finances?

We each have the account that our wages get paid into. And since our daughter was born, we’ve also had a joint account for her child allowance and the money that has been gifted to her. We also transfer money into it for her every month. Before that I didn’t want a joint account as we managed perfectly well without one. We would split the rent, utilities, internet etc. and we always decided on anything beyond that spontaneously and based on our gut instincts – depending on who had more money at the time. Or if he bought the groceries, then I would pay for petrol and the cinema, for example. That worked out really well for us.

How are you planning for your old age?

We’re not really making any provisions yet. Apart from the money in our savings accounts, and what we’ve started putting aside for our daughter.

Would you both have financial security if you were to split up? 

What do you mean by financial security? We would both have our regular wages and some savings. But I doubt that we’d each be able to afford our own apartments.

What is particularly important to you in your relationship when it comes to money? 

We are very open about it, telling each other what we have spent money on and how our parents have helped us out (e.g. with inheritance, cash gifts etc.). We are doing fine at the moment, but in the backs of our minds we are also aware that our current lifestyle isn’t allowing us to save for our old age or to afford larger purchases like a car or our own home.

More about money and finances: In our Short Guide we have listed a brief overview of all key points related to the subject of joint finances.

Wanna share an account at Tomorrow with the person of your choice? You can find all details and an overview of the different account models of Tomorrow Together here.