Welcome to Ask Clark, a column designed to answer your financial questions by money expert Clark Howard.
How Should an Elderly Couple Who Are Moving In Together Handle Their Finances?
Douglas from North Carolina asks: “Two older people, both 78, have fallen in love and decided to live together. Both are reasonably well off, they’re in good health with major debts paid and comfortable lifestyles. My question is how should they handle common. everyday expenses? And is there a good way to handle extraordinary expenses like travel and vacations? Should there be a joint checking account, community credit cards, etc.?”
Clark’s Take on How a Non-Married Couple Should Handle Their Money
Clark says: “What I like in a situation like this is a ‘His’ checking account, a ‘Hers’ checking account and a ‘Theirs’ account. And then for things like common travel expenses: one joint credit card.”
He adds that because they are boyfriend and girlfriend and not married, other expenses should stay separate:
“They can join their hearts — but best not to join their money.”
The key is to figure out upfront how much money they need to fund the joint account. “Come up with your best guestimate of monthly joint common expenses — internet connection, rent or mortgage, utilities,” says Clark, “and each put in an equal amount of money to keep that funded each month. And you pay those bills from that account.”
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