Combining Finances As Newlyweds
Article courtesy of Ramsey Solutions
If you’re a newlywed or getting married soon, it’s time to start talking with your significant other about money. Super romantic, we know, but listen: Being on the same page about money is a key part of having a successful marriage. It sets you up for financial security today and into your golden years together.
And when you say, “I do,” you’re committing to every part of each other—including your finances . . . and debt. So, put combining your finances on the to-do list. Work on it before the honeymoon sunburns fade! Need some help? Let’s talk about how to combine your finances as newlyweds.
Why Talk About Money?
Before we jump into the steps of combining your finances, let’s talk about why this is important. Money is the number one issue married couples fight about. In fact, according to our research, money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity.
Getting on the same page now doesn’t mean you’ll never have hard conversations in the future—but it will help you avoid fighting about money, because you’ll be going in the same direction. Talking about money helps lay the groundwork for a healthy marriage.
Remember, when you get married, you become a we. It’s a big shift. And talking about money forces the two of you to discuss really important issues—like goals, dreams, how you want to retire, and what legacy you hope to leave.
How to Combine Your Finances
The process of combining your finances doesn’t have to add stress to your wedding planning or ruin your newlywed bliss. It won’t be as fun as snorkeling in the Bahamas or backpacking through Europe—but you could still make a date of it. Light some candles and turn on your favorite playlist: Here’s a quick five-step checklist to help you combine your finances:
- Be Honest
Transparency is the key. Be open and honest about your current individual situations, including your debt and your views on money. Figure out your money tendencies. Are you a spender or saver? Do you prefer safety or status? And talk about how these affect your money habits.
You might want to discuss what your parents taught you about money, and what you do and don’t agree with—kindly, of course. Don’t be critical or judgmental if you disagree. Learn how to communicate effectively with your spouse.
- “Marry” Your Bank Accounts
When you get married, you should combine your money into joint accounts. You’re becoming one, so your finances should, too. If you keep this one area separated, it can lead to separation in other areas. Work together from a shared account to create honesty, accountability and a sense that you’re in this together. Because guess what? You are!
- Plan for Your Financial Future
Once everything is on the table, it’s time to create money goals. Figure out what Baby Step you’re on—as a couple. If you were on Baby Step 4, but your bride-to-be is on Baby Step 2, guess what? You’re on Baby Step 2 now.
But that’s all right. You love this person with all your heart. You’re planning on sharing your future together. The good, the bad, the debt—all of it. Set priorities together, and make a plan to move through the Baby Steps together.
- Start Budgeting Together
Before you get married, you should already start talking budgets. You shouldn’t combine your accounts or budget together completely, but some trial runs to see how you’ll work together is a great idea.
Once you’re married, you’ll start budgeting together for real. Every dollar of your incomes, every month. Make sure it happens by putting a date on the calendar each month for your budget meeting. And don’t skip this step! Creating a budget as a couple is how you make your money goals happen.
- Always Put Your Relationship First
If you want a satisfying relationship, you have to make your finances—and working on them together—a priority from the start. Couples who agree about money and have healthy finances almost always have better marriages overall.
When you can talk about money, you can talk about anything. Money comes with baggage and can make us all uncomfortable sometimes. But working through that past, and setting goals together, is how you grow stronger in the now and in the future!