3 Ways To Handle Your Finances When You Get Married

Before You Walk Down The Aisle, Be Sure To Have The "Money Talk"

Bride and groom at wedding
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There are a lot of major milestones in life, birth and marriage being two of the biggest.  If you are about to get married or contemplating marriage, it's critical to your present and your future to have the "money talk."  

Money conversations with a significant other- particularly a pending spouse- are not always simple conversations to have.  However, these talks should be a priority before you walk down that aisle, as the divorce rate due to financial incompatibility is very high.

Not being on the “same page” about money drives couples apart and without a firm foundation, the challenges will be greater.  Be sure to approach the conversation ready to be honest and transparent about all financially related matters.  You and your spouse-to-be will both be grateful for openness and honesty in the long run. 

When you get married, there are three main options insofar as how you are going to deal with your money now that you are lawfully united as a couple.  Are you going to continue to keep your money separate?  Halfway merge your money?  Or put all of your money together?  Each scenario has a number of pros and cons to consider.

1.  Each spouse manages and maintains their own, separate account

Some couples may have cold feet when it comes to joining their bank accounts.  They may choose to manage and maintain their own separate accounts.  Perhaps they commit to each saving an agreed upon amount per month, and divide up expenses.

 

Pros:  You don’t have to worry about your spouse having the same spending habits as you and you will continue to manage your money as you like. You will keep your financial independence. 

Cons:  It makes bill paying a little trickier and the couple will continually need to communicate about how much each person spends.

  If one spouse is not a good communicator, this may cause issues.  Additionally, if something were to ever happen to one spouse, it could take months before the living spouse gets access to the funds. 

2.  A couple merges their money halfway

If a couple decides to merge their money halfway, each spouse keeps a separate bank account in which to put their paychecks, and then there is a joint account funded by both spouses from which expenses are paid. 

Pros: The pros in this situation are that each spouse has the ability to maintain some independence, while at the same time learning to slowly give up a little independence. 

Cons: It may become a little confusing to have three different accounts to manage.  Also, if the spouses have different salaries, they will have to figure out percentages of the paychecks to contribute to the joint fund rather than actual dollar amounts.    

3.  Put all the money together in a union- like your marriage!

In this scenario, the couple creates a joint bank account into which all future paychecks  are deposited and from which all expenses are paid.   Spending money, vacation money, and all other purchases are made from this account as well.  A couple might decide to be a little flexible and take a set (and same) stipend every month from the account to use as they wish.

Pros:  A joint bank account will give a couple a sense of union and partnership. If the couple decides to go on a budget, it will be easier to track money coming in versus money going out. 

Cons: One of the main cons of this set-up for a newly married couple is that one or both partners might feel that someone is always looking over their shoulder.  Additionally, if one spouse tends to spend money more freely than the other, it will be much more readily apparent. 

Have you gotten married recently?  How did you decide to organize your finances and has it worked?

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