When you marry, there are decisions to make about your new life together, including how best to manage your money.
In an ideal world, you've had money talks already, but may still be unsure about the details. For instance, should you merge your finances or keep them separate? This is a big decision for couples, particularly when there are specific circumstances to consider, such as a spouse coming into the marriage with an inheritance, or debt.
To merge or not to merge? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
One advantage of merging money is you can get a better handle on your overall financial picture. When everything is in one place it's much easier to see where your money is going and adjust accordingly.
When you know how much you're making income wise and how much you spend, you can create a budget to pay for your household expenses and save for financial goals and emergencies. When you manage your finances separately, it's easy for one person to overspend without the other person knowing. But when you're working with a shared budget, you can ensure your needs are met while staying on track with your savings goals. Agree on someone to be the banker and keep on top of paying the bills. Go over your budget in a few months to see if it's working.
You can also take advantage of joint accounts that may come with perks like better interest rates or waived fees. And if you have good credit, combining your credit history can help you get even better rates on loans and lines of credit.
Finally, merging finances can reinforce a sense of commitment to each other. It can also be easier to plan for large purchases or financial goals, such as buying a home or saving for the future.
While merging finances is great for some, you and your spouse may not want to give up your financial independence, or compromise on your personal financial goals. Merging finances may result in fewer opportunities for each of you to grow your own wealth or invest the way you want.
It can also be a source of stress and conflict. If one spouse is a saver and the other a spender, it can be difficult to navigate a happy medium. One spouse may feel like they are always compromising or making sacrifices to accommodate the other.
How to Merge Finances Successfully
When deciding to merge your finances, sit down with your spouse and figure out what debts and assets each of you currently has. You'll also need to decide who will be responsible for what. Once you've done that, you'll need to set up a joint checking account and a joint savings account.
Figure out how much money each of you will contribute to the joint accounts each month. Finally, you'll need to make a budget and stick to it. By following these steps, you can successfully merge your finances with your spouse.
Get Help When You Need It
When deciding how to manage your finances as a married couple, do what's best for each of you. Be open to your spouse's concerns and financial goals. And get professional advice when you need it. Most credit unions offer free financial guidance as a benefit of your membership.
Invite Them to Join Our Credit Union
Tell your partner they're eligible to join the Credit Union you love. It's easy — they can do it themselves online.1
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