Personal finance expert Ian Calvert says that a

Is it better for couples to share all their costs or to keep some money separate? We asked personal finance expert Ian Calvert.

There comes a point in a relationship where so many costs are shared that it makes sense to combine your finances.

But it’s not always a good idea to go all out, says Ian Calvert, vice president and director of HighView Financial Group. Instead, try to find a happy middle ground that makes life easier, not harder.

He recommends a “hybrid approach,” in which couples make a joint account for shared expenses like the mortgage, groceries and bills, but maintain their own accounts for other purposes.

“There could be a person who is just a natural saver and a person who is a natural spender,” he said. “So still having some independence for each person … that could be useful, beneficial for many couples.”

Calvert said couples should be transparent and discuss their finances mix before making big financial decisions together, like buying a home. Personal financial information about income, assets and debt will be disclosed if you apply for a mortgage and it’s best to avoid surprises, he said.

He also recommends treating retirement savings as a joint expense.

“Imagine one spouse saving well and putting money into their RSP and increasing their retirement assets, while the other spouse ignores it and perhaps has more expenses today,” he said. “That could cause some friction.”

If one person makes significantly more money than the other, the couple may want to discuss how to fund that joint account on a pro rata basis, Calvert said.

Having a joint account can also force couples to have frank conversations about their finances and their future, he said.

“You can build that sense of equality,” Calvert said.


The conversations are the opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not endorse these views.

More of The star & Partners