Perhaps most traditionally, couples combine bank accounts during marriage, but for some, the thought of relinquishing your personal bank account may cause you to cringe. Instead, try to think of combining finances with your spouse as a means of strengthening your financial health and freedom—allowing you to work together as a team to tackle debts, expenses, and savings goals.
As you consider joining financial forces, consider the following dos and don’ts for effectively combining finances while simultaneously prioritizing communication in your marriage.
Top Do’s & Don’ts of Combining Finances
DON’T Avoid Discussing Finances
Communication is a vital part in any healthy relationship, and financial communication is no exception, especially for newlyweds. If you haven’t had the money talk prior to your wedding ceremony, it’s time to be financially transparent with one another. According to DaveRamsey.com, a Kansas State University study “found that the number one cause of divorce in America is money fights and money problems.” By avoiding discussions on individual finances, couples aren’t working together to strengthen their financial health as a family. So, remember to aside time to discuss individual debts and financial goals, so you can confront them together. Be open, transparent, and considerate with one another, laying everything out on the table.
Once you have all the details, you can effectively plan how to combine your accounts, so you can begin making some financial strides ahead.
DO Establish At Least One Joint Account
As soon as you walk away from the alter, create a joint account and begin contributions immediately. At the very least, couples should establish one joint checking account to deposit money for joint expenses (e.g. rent/mortgage payments, utilities, etc.). The best way to utilize a joint checking account is to have both partners deposit their paychecks or income into it. By putting all your money in one pot, you can see how much money you and your spouse can devote to things like savings, other purchases, and investments. This transparency makes paying the bills less complicated, and you won’t have to nag each other about not paying his/her share of the expenses.
DO Consider Multiple Joint Accounts
If the thought of eliminating your personal account makes you wince, remember that you aren’t losing financial freedom; rather, you are gaining a partner to help you achieve your financial goals. Though opening at least one joint checking account is beneficial, it may help ease your mind to have multiple joint accounts that serve different purposes. For example, you may have one account that pays all joint expenses (i.e. rent/mortgage payments, utilities, subscriptions, babysitting costs, etc.); another for emergencies; and one just for you.
As a couple, you can decide how much money to deposit or transfer into these accounts, and each of you will have the freedom to spend money at your leisure, without taking from the joint expenses account.
DON’T Neglect a Joint Savings
Establishing one or more joint checking accounts is only one step in strengthening your financial health as a couple. Newlyweds also need to create a joint savings account and prioritize setting money aside to accomplish future financial goals. Having an established emergency fund and savings account forces couples to plan for the unexpected and for bigger purchases.
DO Ask for Advice
Combining finances is new territory for most people. It’s natural to be unsure of what to expect or how to move forward to ensure you’re both on the same page and working toward the same long-term goals. Whether you’re about to walk down the aisle, just tied the knot, or have been married for years, working with a financial planning advisor can help prepare you for your future together, as marriage often comes with big financial decisions, like buying a house, planning for children, managing investments and assets, etc. Seeking the help of an independent financial advisor can ensure you’re headed in the right direction, together!
About Focus Financial
At Focus Financial, we’ll help you make smart decisions to strengthen your financial health. From investment planning and financial retirement planning to controlling debt and planning for big purchases, Focus Financial can help you find a financial advisor who specializes in the areas most relevant to you and your financial goals. Contact us today and let us help you create a strong financial plan for your future that accommodates both your individual and mutual situations and goals.