Getting married is one of the biggest decisions anyone can make in life. You continually learn things about your spouse as you spend more and more time together having conversations about anything and everything. Naturally, finances are a common topic that will come up. It is a touchy subject for married couples at times, which is why it is the number one cause of arguments within marriage. What is the best way to handle finances with your spouse? For my fiancé and I, the best way was to completely combine our finances into one account. We did this a full year before our wedding date. Why?
With our combined finances, we more easily learned how each other spends money during the past few months. Having an account together, we are able to understand how much will be coming and going each month. Finances are primarily my responsibility as I have a background in economics and it seems to create less conflict between the two of us. While this works for us, it may not work for everyone.
When I told the banker about combining accounts, he warned that I would have no freedom to spend money on myself. For my fiancé and I this isn’t a problem because we discuss our spending openly. For others, this may be a problem. One thing I have found difficult is buying presents. This may sound ridiculous, but when both of you have access to the same account, making purchases in secret is quite difficult.
Paying Off Debt
My fiancé left college with some student loans, and I was lucky enough to be debt free. When we graduated, I started to develop a plan to pay off her debt, while staying healthy financially. Putting our accounts together has allowed us to pay down her debt together. Doing this a year early will undoubtedly save us thousands in interest.
We would like to buy a house someday. Neither one of us has much of a credit history, and having simplified finances can help us keep ourselves on track better. This way we can build up our credit, so that when we need to make big purchases, such as a house or a car, we would have no trouble obtaining the proper loans.
Instead of getting those 0% balance transfer credit cards, we chose to go with a travel perks credit card to accumulate points. These points can be used for any number of things and we are hoping that we will have enough to take care of our honeymoon flights. Putting our finances together allows us to get points twice as fast as we could separately.
What Should You Do?
These are points that worked for my fiancé and I, but personal finance is indeed personal and your situation may be different. Many enjoy splitting up financially responsibilities with a joint account, while others like having different accounts completely. Whatever the case may be, all couples need to have these conversations! Talking openly about finances is an important part of a healthy relationship, so take the time to hash out the details as soon as possible.
You should also check out 5 questions to ask before combining finances with that special someone.