The Different Paths of Married Finance

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You’ve joined hands, but should you join accounts?

Marriage is a beautiful thing, truly, but beautiful as it is, it also comes with its fair share of logistical headaches. There’s changing names, updating properties, moving in together, and of course, the classic conundrum of finances. While there is no hard and fast rule that a married couple needs to share absolutely everything, combining financial accounts has both upshots and downsides that you should be cognizant of before taking the plunge.

Let’s say you decide to go gung-ho and complete merge your finances. Your spouse’s money is your money, and your money is your spouse’s money. This is definitely the easier path to take, as you can just dump all of the money from one account into another and close the one you’re not using. This also might be a better choice for single-income households, as it’ll help to maintain transparency between the two of you. However, if you have differing philosophies on the management of money, this could prove to be potentially hazardous. You need to be in sync with where your money goes, how much you regularly save, and so on, because if you’re not, then one of you may end up spending a large portion of your finances on something the other doesn’t think you needed.

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On the opposite end of the spectrum, let’s say you decide to maintain completely separate financial accounts. You’ve got yours, they’ve got theirs, and there’s little-to-no overlap. While it’s not the nicest thing to think about, this is a good safety net in the event your marriage doesn’t work out and you need to go your separate ways. Separate accounts allows you to maintain your financial independence and direct your money toward where you think it needs to go without needing to ask permission. However, managing twice the accounts can be a logistical nightmare; from whose account are the bills paid? The groceries bought? Does money need to be regularly transferred over? You’re gonna need to come up with a potentially intricate system to make this work.

Like I said, marriage is beautiful, and learning to co-mingle is a big part of the learning process that creates that beauty. Just make sure that co-mingling doesn’t lead to any fiscal screaming matches.

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