Combining Finances After Marriage: Should You Do It?

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Marriage, as we all know, involves a great deal of decision-making, with the majority of those decisions involving money. Every couple may wonder whether they should merge their finances after they marry since combining finances might be difficult, especially if they are used to managing their finance on their own.

Knowing the foundations of combining finances can help you understand the risks and benefits of doing so.

This article will explain more about combining finances after marriage and will discuss the benefits and disadvantages of combining finances to help you decide if combining finances after marriage is worth it.

 

What Does Combining Finances Mean?

When it comes to combining finance, there are multiple options that a couple could choose. After they married, couples may choose to merge their bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and co-signing on loans. 

Others may merge their bank accounts and leave their other assets separate. In terms of how to combine your finance after marriage, it is up to you to decide what is best for your relationship. 

Combining your finances is an excellent opportunity to work as a team to achieve financial accomplishment.

 

The Advantages of Combining Finances as a Couple

Given how important finance is in a marriage, it's important to understand the benefits of combining your finances after marriage:

 

Teamwork and Shared Goals

When finances are combined, all efforts to work together as a team toward financial goals are streamlined. This will help you stay on the same page most of the time, cooperate, communicate, and allow you to make smart decisions about your short and long-term financial goals as a married couple. 

Here are some examples of financial goals that a newlywed couple could pursue:

  • Paying off debt: If applicable, you can develop the most efficient plan for repaying all of the debts you and your partner owe. This could include consolidating debt into a single loan or prioritizing particular debts to lower interest rates.
  • Buying a house: If you're intending to buy a house together, cooperation is even more crucial. Both of your salaries, debts, and credit histories are relevant if you're applying for a mortgage together. It's a good idea to start this procedure together, without any surprise of hidden information on debts and credits.
  • Saving for retirement: This will imply that you will retire together. Combining your finances allows you to create and implement a plan that is more likely to offer sufficient future support for both of you.
  • Short- or long-term Investments: It's important to discuss investing as a pair. Consider what percentage of each of your earnings you can give to each investment. Whatever investment you make, you should do so as a pair.
  • Saving for short-term purchases: Working together to save money for the holidays, a vacation, a car, or anything else you both want will get you closer to your goal faster. Agreeing to buy these not-so-important things ahead of time will help you avoid becoming upset or bitter about money in the future.

 

Adapt Faster to Life’s Changes

Marriage is all about helping each other out when things go wrong or when things change unexpectedly. One of you may experience a medical emergency, decide to go grad school, or find yourself in need of a new car.

When unexpected things happen that are not part of your financial goals as a couple, both of you can adapt to the changes quickly because you're both aware of your financial situation. Both of you have access, and there are no financial secrets, allowing you to make more open and smart decisions.

 

Stronger Sense of Equality

A sense of security, as well as balance and fairness, is created when finances are shared. You both have a combined income that pays for your shared property and a large part of your lifestyle. 

If both spouses work, your wages don't have to be the same, but combining finances creates a new shared foundation for you and your spouse. Each of you will view the money as a shared resource for the two of you, rather than as an individual asset.

 

Streamline the Process of Paying Bills

Couples can open a joint checking account specifically for living expenses. You'll be able to pay your mortgage or rent, as well as other essentials like utilities and food, in one transaction.

 

Transparency of Budgets

This enables you to be open and honest with one another, collaborate on solutions, and avoid unpleasant personal financial surprises. It's a lot easier to keep track of your shared budget and see where you might be going over budget in some areas.

There are numerous ways to think about your budget, but you must have a standard one to ensure that you and your partner are not living over your means.

 

Tax Benefits

Combining finances and filing a combined tax return can save some couples a lot of money.

This is especially true if one spouse has a higher salary than the other. Because combined tax brackets are exactly double those for married couples filing separately, a higher-earning spouse's income would be taxed at a lower rate.

 

Disadvantages of Combining Finances

Now that you've learned about some of the benefits of combining finance, let's look at some of the downsides. It is always beneficial to be aware of the disadvantages so that you can make smart decisions as a couple:

  • Can Lead To Unfairness - Though marriage requires accepting your spouse for who they are, some couples may find it difficult to accept their financial situation. When one partner enters the marriage with little to no money, combining finances can quickly become a source of tension. It's the same if you have a lot of debt or a bad credit score. If you put your name on your partner's accounts, problems with those accounts can affect your overall credit score.
  • Constrained by New Rules - It's easy to feel restricted by the regulations that come with sharing funds if you've previously managed your own money. If you wanted to buy something, you had to obtain permission or inform your spouse. Couples may find this difficult, especially at first.
  • Too Accountable to Someone Else - Some couples avoid combining finances because of financial disagreements. If your spending habits are drastically different before you married, one of you will be held overly accountable because of your previous spending habits. Purchases made by one person may have an impact on the other.
  • High Chance to Cause Arguments - If you and your partner have opposing viewpoints and goals, it might lead to conflict. A conflict may also arise if you and your partner aren't on the same page, with different financial goals and priorities.

 

Tips for Combining Your Finances After Marriage

If you believe the disadvantages of combining finances after marriage do not outweigh the benefits, and you decide to go forward with it, here are some tips to assist you in correctly combining your finances:

 

Be Honest About Finance

A great way to start talking about the future as a married couple is to talk about the past. Before you combine your finances, have an open and honest talk about your financial situation before you met. 

If there are still things that aren't disclosed or even hidden, especially in finance, they shouldn't be kept and should be discussed as a married couple. Tackle areas such as:

 

Talk About Finances Often

Always bring up the subject of money and finances. When it comes to money, try your best to be encouraging and nonjudgmental. As you combine your finances, there will be a learning curve, so be gentle with each other.

Always keep in mind that talking about money is just you and your partner working out your financial plans. Make sure to pay attention to their ideas and suggestions.

 

Create a Budget Together

Make it a habit to sit down together and set a monthly budget that you can both stick to as your finances combine.

Make a list of your overall income as well as all of your necessary costs. Non-essential expenses such as dates, travels, stuff you want, and more should also be included in your budgeting.

That way, you'll learn how to speak appropriately about finances and have a healthy discussion about what should and shouldn't be on the list.

 

Discuss Your Financial Goals Together

Discuss your financial goals, not just for each other, but for both of you. Determine what is your shared financial goal.

 

As a married couple, talk about your long-term and short-term financial goals. That way, you'll both be focusing on what's best for your marriage while on the same page.

 

Also, discuss your goals. Even if you are married, you may still have goals you wish to accomplish as an induvial. Be upfront and honest about your goals and work together as a couple and plan on how to achieve them together.

 

Work On Your Financial Goals Together

After you've determined your financial goals, you should work together to achieve them and should each have a fair share. Here are some examples of common goals for married couples that should be worked on regularly:

 

Discuss Major Purchases Before Buying

While discussing purchases with your partner may be seen as a disadvantage by some, it is important to do so before purchasing something that would have a significant impact on your combined budget. 

This will prevent surprises and arguments as a couple. It will also help with properly discussing if it is possible to purchase the item, or if not, whether you can both plan to get it in the future.

 

Plan Insurance Together

Now that you're married, you'll want to make sure your partner is taken care of in the event you pass away and your income is no longer accessible. If you have kids, this means buying life insurance to replace your salary, pay off your mortgage, or start a college fund. Both of you should be insured if both of you work or if you have children. 

 

Track Your Finances

Have a system in place to keep track of where your money is and what it is doing. Always keep track of your finances, what was spent over the month, and what is left to use or save, whether you use an app or do it manually. 

Because the money is being tracked, you will both be more conscious of how you spend it. It also aids in the development of excellent spending habits.

 

Checklist Before Combining Your Finance After Marriage

After marriage, combining finances requires serious conversation and planning. If you have decided to combine your finances, here’s a short checklist that might help you as a pair before you make your final decision:

  • Are you both happy with how the discussion went?
  • Are you both satisfied with the current financial status?
  • Do you both agree that combining your finances is a good idea?
  • Will this assist you in achieving your financial goals?

The goal is to work together and communicate effectively with your partner.

 

Bottomline

It always depends on the couple and their financial condition to determine whether combining finances after marriage is a good option for them.

The discussion of the advantages of combining finance and the tips for properly managing combined finance in the article is a wonderful help for couples to understand how to take advantage of the benefits of combined finance. 

The disadvantages highlighted may also help them in understanding not only the risk but also how to prevent and work on it. The majority of disadvantages occur mainly during the initial stages when couples are adjusting to their new financial situation.

If you've already checked all of the items on our checklist, 121 Financial Credit Union should be able to help you with all of your combining financial needs.

We can help you open bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and much more. Contact 121 Financial Credit Union today.

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