Having read the same article on wealth and marriage (see below), I wanted to add my take on it. For me, it isn’t so much about the consolidation of expenses that leads to extra savings for couples. During the awful experience of finding out how deeply in debt I really was, my fiance and I bought some personal finance books. David Bach, author of Smart Couples Finish Rich, recommended writing down a list of your values, then converting these values into a value-based financial plan. Together we identified our individual and couples values. Our list of values included Good Health, Personal Growth, Quality Time Together, and Financial Security. Notice that “$500 shoes” was not a value on either of our lists! With this in mind, we were able to prioritize our spending. Instead of wasting our money on things we don’t value we now try to spend on things we do value. For us, the recent expense of a $700 health club membership for my fiance was a reasonable part of our financial plan. Before we created a value-based plan, spending $700 on a health club would have been hard to justify.
So this brings me back to the article about net worth and marriage. I think that an important reason why we are saving a lot more money now than when we were single is that now we are both spending and saving towards our goals. This double-sided approach helps us see both our expenses and savings as part of our net worth goals. We remind each other regularly of our values so instead of feeling deprived of new shoes, we feel stronger in our relationship. It’s nice when money is a source of strength rather than conflict.