Because my wife and I do, I talked previously about the wonders of having a joint bank and retirement account as a couple. I also saw recently an article in WSJ on the topic, and Julia Carpenter writes, "Couples who combine bank, credit-card and investing accounts are happier in the long term and find that pooling resources helps clear the path to traditional money milestones such as buying a house and saving for retirement, studies have found."
I would agree with her conclusion. I also read some comments and there are widely different opinions on this, but someone asked if it could be that couples in happy relationships are more likely to combine their finances, rather than combining leading to happiness.
In my own family, I have seen all sorts of arrangements. And it is not about the generation either. Since my grandma and mom did not work, they did not have separate finances. My siblings, though, all have separate finances with their spouses. My wife and I, on the other hand, have combined our finances since we started to live together. The idea is simple: every penny that each one of us earns is in one pool and then we both spend the money in a responsible manner. For some items like a trip that she needs to take alone to be with her friends or the money that I want to spend on my hobby, we just talk about it, and as long as it is reasonable and fits into our budget, it is done. We never even discuss if either one of us spent more or less on a specific item or in an year. It works beautifully.
So what do I recommend?
Obviously, it is going to be up to the couple to figure out what to do, but it is a lot simpler if you do what we do. Both of you will be more financially responsible and will act in the best interest of you as a couple as opposed to just watching out for yourself. Remember, that money if often the number one reason for a divorce, so if you can nail this part in your relationship, you will probably be married for life,