Through stories from real-life couples, Money in Love aims to start conversations about how money works in relationships.
Whether it’s negotiating each other’s spending habits or sharing costs from loft conversions to loo roll, the financial side of romance can be fraught with challenges.
In fact, according to Money Advice Service, the average couple has 39 arguments about money a year! One in seven married people have a secret stash of cash, and almost a quarter said their other half would be surprised if they knew the real state of their money.
Meet Michael & Dan
London-based couple Michael and Dan earn different amounts and have opposite outlooks when it comes to their money. So they’re happiest keeping their finances separate.
How do you manage money together?
Michael: We’re now quite individualistic. We have a joint account and for a while we each put money in. But it’s been easier to split bills from our individual accounts.
Dan: We both have different spending habits. I’m happy to split the bill when I feel it’s appropriate, but I don’t want to fund Michael’s lifestyle. He has a taste for champagne and prosecco!
Sometimes I’d feel awkward spending on the joint account card, because it’s not really my money. For me, spending in the joint account has to be a joint purchase. I couldn’t use it for my day-to-day coffee.
Michael: We have some money in the joint account for incidentals, like if we go out for breakfast together. But otherwise it’s easier and we both feel more comfortable when we have control over our own finances.
Michael and Dan both got their pilot licenses for fun last summer.
Dan: A couple we’re friends with have a huge difference between their earnings. So one of them relies on the joint account for her discretionary spending. I think it’s interesting that they’re a straight couple and we’re a gay couple.
Michael: In our case, we’re both earning enough to individually manage our finances. But in gay relationships, I think there aren’t those predisposed roles.
In straight relationships, perhaps there’s an expectation around someone being the home body that provides care for the family, or for one person to be the breadwinner and the other to take care of other parts of the relationship. We’ve never even had to consider those stereotypes and I think that’s the difference. We don’t have to think about the same social norms.
Do you argue about money?
Michael: We never argue about how we manage money. But we disagree on lifestyle spending, guilty pleasures and when extravagant spending is and isn’t necessary.
Dan: I’ve got something wrong with my skin at the moment, and Michael wanted me to pay for a private GP rather than waiting to get it seen on the NHS. He thinks I should get it sorted now, even though it’ll cost a bit more. But I’m more patient.
Michael: I’m willing to spend extra if it means less time.
Dan: Our previous housemate described Michael as the “King of Convenience” and I think that’s definitely true. He’d love to get a cleaner, but I won’t let him. I do most of our cleaning because I’m here more than him and I don’t mind doing it.
We come from different backgrounds. My dad’s incredibly frugal and I’ve inherited that trait. Michael’s from a more comfortable background.
Do you think of yourselves as being ‘good’ with money?
Dan: We both have a good approach. We’re both heavily influenced by The Barefoot Investor, a financial advisor who’s written books on how to manage your finances.
Based on that, we use 60% of our income for day-to-day expenses, 20% on lifetime savings and clearing debts, and then the other 20% is to do what we want with.
It works really well for both of us because it’s proportionate. Michael earns more than me, but proportionately we both spend about the same. And we automate all of it.
How does that work?
Dan: I have my salary paid into my Lloyds bank account and then 80% goes into my Monzo account. The remaining 20% goes towards long term savings and clearing debts (I’ve got a loan, for example). In my Monzo, the money goes into different Pots. I prefer it that way because otherwise I’ll spend it!
Michael: I do it the same way but I get paid into my Monzo account. On the day I get paid, it all gets divided up into Pots.
What are your long term financial goals as a couple?
Dan: I’d love to buy a house, preferably with Michael before I’m 30.
Michael: I’ve got a flat already which is where we’re living in London. Thinking about the future together, if we could buy something outside London that would be good.
Want to share your story? Email us at [email protected] with a bit about yourselves and your relationship with money. If we interview you, we'll give you £25 each to put towards a date night. And if you’d rather stay anonymous, we can change your names ❤️
If you're thinking of managing money with your partner, open a joint account with Monzo!