Tying the knot is one of the most significant events in anyone’s life. Agreeing to share your life with someone else is a big decision you don’t want to take lightly. As a married couple, you and your partner will share just about everything — from holidays and vacations to property and professional pursuits. Who knows, you may decide to start a family, in which case you’ll share children as well. And while many people would prefer to avoid the subject of money, one of the most important things you will share throughout your marriage is your finances.
Sharing and combining finances is a crucial step to establishing a healthy marriage. It involves a lot of compromises, understanding, and communication from both parties. This article will dive into everything you need to know about merging your finances after marriage, including what it means to combine finances, the benefits of doing so, and five tips for creating a successful financial plan with your spouse.
What Does it Mean to Combine Finances?
Combining finances after marriage can look different from couple to couple. For some, the process involves sharing joint access to bank accounts, credit cards, household budgets, and loans. Some couples choose to combine every aspect of their finances, while others may decide to have separate bank accounts with one shared account or one shared credit card account. There are many ways to combine your money. What’s most important is that you and your partner find the way that works best for you and helps you accomplish the financial goals you set together.
Benefits of Combining Finances
Good communication is key when combining finances with your spouse, so creating an environment where both partners can talk openly about such an important topic is healthy for the relationship as a whole. It helps both parties to understand the other’s philosophy of money and whether or not their priorities are in line.
If managing money together is good for relationships, it’s only natural to wonder whether a different approach to financial management could present a challenge. Studies have shown that 20% of couples choose to handle their finances separately. Unfortunately, couples who choose to manage their finances individually are five times more likely to divorce due to monetary problems than those who combine their finances.
5 Tips for Successfully Combining Finances
As you and your spouse go through the planning process of combining finances, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind
1. Talk Often About Finances
Conversations with your partner about finances should be ongoing. There will always be a financial situation worth discussing with your partner, including investments, paying off debt, saving for retirement, and making large purchases. While the first conversation can be the most difficult, as money can be a sensitive topic, it’s essential to open that line of communication with your spouse and keep it open throughout your marriage.
2. Make a Budget Together
Creating a budget with your spouse helps get you both on the same page when it comes to your financial situation. Doing this work together can eliminate much of the miscommunication that can happen when making purchases, big or small. Look at your monthly expenses, and decide who will pay each bill. This ensures that nothing falls through the financial cracks and causes bigger problems down the road.
3. Establish Financial Goals
When do you want to retire? Do you have credit card or student loan debt to pay off? Do you have enough money set aside for an emergency fund? These are all important things to consider when setting your financial goals, and they deserve careful planning and input from both parties in a marriage. Talk with your partner about your shared financial goals – both short- and long-term – to make sure you have a clear game plan to meet them.
4. Create a Marital Balance Sheet
A marital balance sheet can be especially helpful for engaged couples who want to start their marriage off on the right financial foot. This sheet will lay out each person’s assets and debts, determine what’s yours, what’s theirs, and what will belong to both of you after you get married. Setting a pattern of financial transparency at the beginning of the marriage encourages more effective and open communication in the years to come.
5. Learn to Compromise
Marriage involves making compromises, and those compromises can often be financial. This may include finding a middle ground in your monthly budget, deciding on a large purchase, or reevaluating your monetary goals. For the sake of your relationship, it is important to listen to your spouse’s logic and understand their thought process. This understanding will help you find common ground with one another and make financial decisions with confidence.
Combining finances with your spouse can be challenging, but the practical benefits make it worth your time and effort. If you’ve decided to start combining finances with your partner, talk to a Spero Financial representative to discover how we can help you — and your finances — make a strong transition into this exciting new chapter in life.
This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.