How to maintain financial independence in a long-term relationship

According to data from Bumble’s 2023 State of the Nation poll, four in five Americans believe women remain in unhappy relationships because of a lack of financial independence.

If independence is important to you, it would be wise to maintain some financial distance from your partner, whether or not you feel your relationship is on shaky ground.

“If you want your value system to be independent, you need to create that independence,” said Mark La Spisa, board-certified financial planner and president of Vermilion Financial.

A money move you can make to ensure your autonomy: Do not combine bank accounts.

Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean that all of your money should be deposited into the same account. Use the “three accounts method” instead, La Spisa said.

This means that you and your partner each have their own bank account and open a third account into which you both deposit an agreed amount.

This, he said, is the #1 way to ensure one can “walk away at any time.”

If you want your value system to be independent, then you must create that independence.

Markus La Spisa


It’s also important to have your own credit cards, La Spisa said. Any new accommodation you apply for will likely want a credit check, and you don’t want neglected credit standing to hold you back.

“You have to maintain your credit,” he said.

There are also some mental adjustments to consider.

“People are willing to sacrifice their happiness for security or for things in many cases,” La Spisa said. “They will trade dissatisfaction to hold on to a lifestyle they might not be able to afford.”

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Get comfortable with what your life would be like without your partner’s income by creating a “before and after budget,” La Spisa said. How much money would you have for the rent? How many times a month could you go out to eat? Could you go on vacation that often?

When you ask yourself these questions, you can imagine how your life could be different if you only relied on what you deserve.

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