Getting Married? What to Know about Combining Finances
- Financial Education
- Frontwave Credit Union
Summer is a popular time for weddings. The fair weather, gorgeous flowers, and abundant sunshine all make for the perfect backdrop. If you’re planning your special day soon, you’ve probably got lots of to-dos on your list. But have you thought about how you’ll handle your finances after the wedding day?
Some couples choose to keep their accounts and bills separate, contributing individually to joint expenses, like rent or a mortgage. But many others choose to combine their finances to make it easier to keep track of bills, spending, and saving for shared long-term goals. There’s no single right or wrong way to go – it’s really what’s best for you. If you do choose to combine finances, here a few tips to help make the transition smoother.
Be honest with each other.
Before you begin to combine finances, it’s a good idea to have an open and honest discussion about your financial situation, if you haven’t already. Tell your partner about all of the debts that you have, and any credit problems you may have had in the past (such as a delinquency or bankruptcy). Ask your partner to do the same. Ensuring there are no surprises is the best way to start your financial future together.
Consider a joint account.
If you both already have separate accounts, it can be helpful to either make one of them a joint account or open a new joint account together that you both have full access to. With a joint checking account, for example, you’ll both get debit cards, and have access to withdrawals and deposits on your shared money.
One thing to note: If one or both of you are legally changing your name after the wedding, you may want to wait until you have all the paperwork finalized (new driver’s license, social security card, etc.) to open your new joint account. This can make things easier vs. having to go back again and change your name later down the line.
Create a household budget.
Now that you’re working toward a shared future, sit down together to map out your current financial situation. Use our guide to budgeting basics to get started. Once you determine where your money is currently going, plan together how you’ll achieve your shared financial goals, such as paying off debt, buying a home, or saving for retirement.
Establish ground rules.
Talk with your partner about your expectations for using your joint account(s) to make sure you’re on the same page. Discuss how you’ll handle paying bills and making decisions about new purchases. For example, some couples choose to discuss all purchases ahead of time. Others may choose only to discuss out of the ordinary or particularly high dollar purchases.
Keep the lines of communication open.
Successfully combining your finances doesn’t end with opening an account or creating a budget together. You’ll want to keep talking about your finances, spending and household budget throughout your marriage, understanding that your plans and goals may change over time.
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