OK, so you’re engaged. Congratulations! For the foreseeable future, your life will revolve around your plans for joining together in matrimony. But what about your plans for joining finances? Unfortunately, when it comes to money, most engaged couples would rather do, well, just about anything instead of talk finances. But if you’re engaged, the time to hash out your financial life together is now, before you take your trip down the aisle.
Lay all your cards on the table
What do you own? What do you owe? How many credit cards do you have? And more importantly, what are the balances? Rarely do people enjoy talking about money unless they have it — but if there’s one person in the world that deserves to know what kind of money manager you are, it’s your future spouse. Talk openly and honestly now and you’ll both have a better sense of where you are individually and where you can go together.
Yours, mine, and ours
Once you’ve overcome your anxiety about discussing money, the next big hurdle is deciding how – or even if – you want to combine your accounts. Financial independence is something we all work hard for and opening a joint account can feel like giving some of that independence away. Here are a couple things to consider:
- For many couples, a good approach is to keep their individual accounts, while opening a joint account for shared expenses. This gives you time to adjust to your new reality, while getting a sense of how your spouse manages money.
- On the other hand, some couples think that separate accounts are a recipe for poor money management and you’ll know where you stand as a couple when it comes time to make big financial decisions.
A merger of equals
No matter how hard you both work or how dedicated you are to your careers, it’s common for one spouse to earn more than the other. But the last thing you want is a power struggle over your money. Regardless of who contributes more, it’s a good idea for both of you to have access to equal amounts of discretionary income.
Whatever path you go down, don’t forget that you’re a team. So, while you may have different ideas about how money should be handled, your goals and dreams are likely the same. That’s part of why you’re getting married in the first place, right? Talk openly and regularly and it’ll be easier to find financial common ground.
This material is provided for general and educational purposes only; it is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk. We recommend that you consult an independent legal advisor or financial professional for specific advice about your individual situation.
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