Each couple has their own playbook and no doubt, managing finances together may be one of the most challenging chapters. Many online literature touched on the broad concepts of organising couple finances (e.g. joint accounts, budget), but few shed light on the how to implement a system in a Singapore context. So, I took some time to put together a simple infographics to share a potential example of managing couple finances together.
This example aims to leverage on the benefits of individuals’ high interest-rate savings account, while providing room to ease into a shared commitment arrangement for the long term.
The 7-Step guide below elaborates on the flow of cash illustrated in the infographics:
1. Personal High Interest-rate Savings Account
Set up an individual high interest-rate savings account (e.g. UOB One Account) and credit your salary into this account to earn the bonus interest on your personal savings. Set up a standing instruction to transfer $X to the Joint Savings account.
2. Personal Investments
As everyone’s risk appetite is different, investments are kept separate until you develop a joint investment plan. Nonetheless, invest together towards Financial Independence, Retire Early (“FIRE”)!
3. Personal Expenses
Although most expenses are shared, there may still be some expenses which are kept personal. These are charged to an individual credit card (e.g. UOB Krisflyer) to earn some benefits. As shared expenses are usually more than individual expenses, shared expenses are charged to the credit card linked to the high interest-rate savings account instead to reach the minimum spending required for the bonus interest.
4. Joint Savings Account
Set up a Joint-All account to receive the monies transferred from you and your partner’s individual accounts. Being a Joint-All account, it requires both you and your partner’s consent to make transactions. Thus, this serves as a long-term account to accumulate emergency funds and other financial goals together (Tip: CIMB FastSaver happens to grant higher interest rates of 1.0% and above compared to other banks without salary crediting). Set up a standing instruction to transfer $Y to the Joint Expense account for shared expenses.
5. Joint Expense Account
Set up a Joint-Alternate account to receive money from the Joint Savings account for shared expenses. Being a Joint-Alternate account, this grants some flexibility as both you or your partner can make transactions with this account individually.
6. Direct Shared Expenses
For certain shared expenses (e.g. utilities, internet), make GIRO arrangements to directly deduct the bills monthly from the Joint Expense account. This reduces the hassle of manually making payment each month and ensures you won’t miss any payments!
7. Indirect Shared Expenses
For daily shared expenses (e.g. groceries, dining), charge them to the credit card linked to your individual account (e.g. UOB One Credit Card) to chalk up the minimum spending required to earn the bonus interest. As the expenses are shared, the credit card bill is then paid off using the Joint Expense account. By separating individual and shared expenses to different credit cards, it reduces the need to manually calculate expenses and simplifies the monthly bill payment process.
Compared to using UOB, some may contest that DBS multiplier account is superior or the Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback card is better, and the list goes on. Each system has its own merits and drawbacks, and this example is far from perfect. The gist here is to help retain some level of autonomy over your finances and transit into a joint ecosystem gradually.
I hope this will help the clueless ones in a way or another, so talk to your partner and find your own game plan! 😄
Disclaimer: The post is purely for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be any form of financial or investment advice. Please do your own due diligence and consult a certified financial planner if necessary.
Icons sourced from icons8.