Wedding bells and bank accounts
Now that you’ve found the person you want to spend your life with, figuring out your financial future together can lay the foundation for a happy union.
To share or not to share finances
Every couple is different. Knowing the implications of a shared account vs. keeping separate accounts will help you weigh your options and decide what's best for you.
Pros of combining finances
- Full transparency in spending habits and simplified finances for family planning. This helps to build an "ours" mentality and less of a "mine" and "yours" approach.
- If one member of the marriage has a good credit score, both members can benefit.
- Communication skills can improve as you work together towards shared financial goals.
Cons of combining finances
- Possible friction if partners do not have the same views on how to spend and save money.
- Partners may feel a loss of financial independence.
- Challenge of having to take on each other's assets and obligations when co-mingling finances and working on shared goals. Big considerations can include alimony, child support, college tuition, outstanding debt and healthcare costs.
Managing money in your marriage
Before you say "I do"
When you think about all the time, effort and attention to detail you spend planning the big day, doesn't it make sense to put that same effort into your new financial future? Before you walk down the aisle, set aside time to discuss the following with your partner:
- Financial standing. Make a comprehensive list of your assets and liabilities. Assets include personal property and savings, retirement accounts and cash-on-hand. Liabilities include monthly expenses, outstanding rolling debt (like credit cards) and one-time unique events like a honeymoon. The more detailed and honest your lists, the better.
- Savings. Determine how much you will contribute to savings and what you will use the funds for. There are a number of specialized accounts you can explore like 529 plans for college savings.
- Goals. Make a list of goals you want to accomplish together both in the near and not-so-near future.
- Budget. Decide how you will handle bill payments, shared expenses and discretionary spending.
- Prenuptial agreement. These are not just for the rich and famous. It could also be a wise move for you.
Explore more milestones
Buying your first home
Homeownership is a milestone to celebrate. Before you can open the door to your new life as a first-time homeowner, you'll need to prepare for the home-buying process.
Remodeling your home
Few things are as satisfying as a successful home improvement project. Before starting, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on potential pitfalls and learn to be a budget master.
Planning for your expanding family
Thinking about expanding your family? Some financial prep now can bring you some comfort and peace of mind for when your newest family member arrives.