Combining finances after marriage

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Congratulations! You’re getting married soon! (Or at least I’m guessing so since you’re reading this)

Or maybe you’re here to do a little research to figure out the best way to handle your finances after you get married someday.

Whatever reason brought you here, I’m going to share 3 AMAZING benefits of combining finances after marriage.

Before I even married my lovely wife, we talked about whether or not we wanted to combine our finances, and quickly decided it was the best option for us.

We’ve been married for almost 6 years and I LOVE that we chose to combine our finances after marriage. It has made our lives so much easier, has built a foundation of trust and transparency, and increased our intimacy as a couple.

Plus we’ve had a lot of crazy awesome successes since we’ve combined our finances.

(And like any couple handling money, we’ve had some frustrating moments. Combined finances isn’t a miracle cure for financial woes, but it’s made life so much easier and less stressful)

Ready to see if combining finances after marriage is right for you?

Let’s dive into 3 benefits of merging your money when you get married!

Our Money Wins Since Combining Finances

My wife and I will celebrate our 6th anniversary in May of this year and have had many financial successes in our young marriage.

I attribute a lot of our financial success to combining our finances when we got married.

Even during our dating and engagement we shared all of our financial information with each other in preparation for working together as a team.

Although our bank accounts were still separate, we pooled our money together to pay off student loans, credit card debt, and our vehicles. And meal plan like ninjas! 

We’re very goal oriented, so it only made sense to get a head start on our intense goals. Then once we tied the knot, we officially joined our finances.

In order to show the power of combined finances, I want to share our financial goals when we started dating, and also the progress we have made.

Here are a few of the big goals we had at the time in 2013:

Looking back on these goals, holy cow do they seem lofty, especially on two teacher salaries. (During this process we both got a second job serving at a restaurant, which has also helped make our goals possible)

Combining our finances after marriage helped SO MUCH to accomplish these goals. Especially before we had our daughter and daycare started eating away all of our money.

So, how does combining finances help you win with money? I’m so glad you asked. 🙂

Combining Finances Makes Budgeting Easier

This is my FAVORITE reason for joining our finances together.

Managing money can be hard, so why would you want to make it even harder?

Budgeting is easier when all the money goes into the same accounts, and when it comes out of the same accounts.

Joint bank accounts help put our budget on autopilot. I don’t need to wait for Jenna to transfer money to my account so I can pay bills, or vice versa. It’s just there.

Did you ever have roommates during college? Or at any point in your life?

If so, maybe this will sound familiar. One person has the water bill account in their name, so they agree to pay it every month and all roommates agree to give that person money before it’s due.

Seems like a simple system. But it NEVER WAS! We all know when the water bill is due, but for some reason the person who has the bill in their name is ALWAYS hounding the entire house for money.

AGH!!! It was so annoying! I mean we all survived, but there was a lot of passive aggressive sticky notes going around.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to picture paying bills in my marriage. Of course being married might clear up some of the passive aggressiveness, but marriage doesn’t automatically make you great communicators.

With combined finances, I can just pay ALL of the bills at one time. Jenna doesn’t need to question if I’m paying my half of the bills or transferring money to her account.

Because everything comes out of the same bank accounts, Jenna can just log into her online banking and see everything she needs in about 7 seconds.

HUGE DISCLAIMER: Every budget is only as good as the system it runs on, so I know that combining finances isn’t a guarantee of financial success. I know plenty of people who have very efficient money systems who don’t combine finances. (And I know people who do combine finances who still struggle with money)

But if you don’t have an efficient system, combining finances after marriage is a great way to start a budgeting system that is easy and simple.

Combined Finances Increases Trust and Transparency

Research and studies point to money as a leading point of conflict in marriage. And it’s even worse if you’re not great communicators.

In fact, most sources will place fights about money in the top five reasons why couples fight.

This article from Investopedia does a FABULOUS job pinpointing big money issues most couples face, and states that 33% of couples reported money as a BIG source of conflict.

There are SO many reasons for money conflicts. Here are a few off the top of my head.

I honestly think a lot of money issues can be resolved if couples are combining finances after marriage. It obviously won’t create a perfect, harmonious system, but combined finances sets a solid foundation for trust, communication, and honesty.

Get on the Same Page BEFORE You Get Married

Before Jenna and I got married, we sat down and had “the talk”.

I wanted to know EVERYTHING about her finances. How much debt does she have? Does she save or spend? What did her parents teach her about money? How did she view money in marriage? What were her expectations for her future husband and money?

And I wanted her to know everything about my money.

We didn’t want to beat around the bush when it came to our pasts, and wanted to avoid the classic TV show situation where one person is totally surprised by a giant mountain of debt.

(Pssst. If you have a mountain of debt, use a debt snowball spreadsheet to pay it off faster. Read this post on how to set it up today)

I remember sitting down on my bed and preparing to bare my financial soul to Jenna. It was slightly terrifying. A few scary thoughts that went through my mind:

Your brain goes to dark and scary places sometimes.

But I knew that sharing everything would create a mutual understanding. There wouldn’t be secrets, misgivings, or resentment. And we decided right then and there that we wanted to stay open and honest, and that combining finances after marriage was the best way to do that.

I fully trust Jenna to follow our budget, stick to our financial goals, and communicate with me about our finances. And she trusts me to do the same.

And it’s WAY easier to be accountable to each other when our finances are an open book.

In the end, I’m responsible for actually managing our income and expenses, but there is full communication during the entire process.

There is complete transparency and we discuss any major purchases ahead of time, like buying an air conditioner for our daughters room so it wasn’t 85 degrees on hot summer nights.

If you’re on the same page with your budget, it’s much easier to trust each other with your money. I never have to wonder how Jenna spends her money, or vice versa, because it is OUR money.

And anything extra goes to our mutual financial goals. Right now we’re saving hard to boost our emergency fund and bring my father in law to Germany for his 60th birthday.

Another advantage I love about marrying our finances is that we can plan for our future together. There is something magical about dreaming of your future together and then working hard to make it a reality.

Each month we talk about our budget, upcoming expenses, and remind each other of our financial goals (like building an emergency fund). Neither one of us is has to worry if the budget is being blown by unnecessary spending.

There is complete trust and accountability, and I believe that deepens our relationship.

Joint Finances Demonstrates Commitment

I think it goes without saying, marriage takes a lot of commitment.

In sickness, health, wealth, poverty, good times, or bad, you are vowing to work through conflict, have your spouse’s best interest at heart, and that takes an incredible pledge.

When you join your bank accounts and give each other equal access, it’s a physical display of your commitment to do life together. I don’t think you can fully weave your family together without also doing the same with your finances.

One Band, One Sound

One of my favorite movie quotes comes from Drumline.

Overall, it’s not a great movie and there are a few moments where I shake my head and say, “Come on Nick Cannon, don’t be a dufus!” But his character is a dufus anyway.

But the quote I love is, “One Band, One Sound”.

The drumline should be committed to being the best they can be that their drumming is so crisp, clean, and precise that it’s creating one, unified sound, instead of a smattering of different beats and rhythms.

That’s how marriage is meant to be. Two people come together and commit to sharing their lives and learn how to budget as a couple. You create shared goals and work toward them together.

You become “one band” beating to the same rhythms and timing. And I can’t think of a better way to do that than combining your finances. It communicates commitment, and a united front.

When both parties have equal access to all of the information and are working toward the same goals, it increases unity. I LOVE IT!

Being Honest and Vulnerable About Money Builds Intimacy

I believe joint finances also adds a deeper layer of intimacy in your relationship. This may sound strange, but stick with me here.

It’s not uncommon for people to have pride issues when it comes to money. Whether it’s conscious or subconscious, it’s easy to be sensitive when it comes to money, and it’s rare for people to actually share financial details with even close friends and family.

Think about it. How much do you know about your friends finances? How about your siblings or parents?

Things as simple as income, expenses, and budgets can be very personal and intimate parts of our lives that we don’t like sharing with others..

It’s called personal finance for a reason. Our attitudes, thoughts, emotions, and philosophies of money are a part of who we are, and it’s a part we seldom share with others.

I think judgement and ridicule is a big reason people are hesitant to open up their financial lives. Who wants to share their views on money or how much debt they have just to have someone throw it back in your face? Umm, nobody. That’s who.

In order to share your financial story with your spouse, you need to be vulnerable, which is down right hard and even intimidating.

It’s a little like telling someone ‘I love you’ for the first time. You’re opening yourself up with the possibility of being totally crushed by rejection, embarrassment, disappointment.

All you can do is wait and hope they say it back, and pray they don’t say “thank you”.

Sharing your finances can create a similar intimate situation. When you share part of your story that you hide from everyone else, that’s intimate.

And I don’t know about you, but if there’s one person I’m going to share the deepest, most personal parts of my life with, it’s going to be my spouse.

Being vulnerable with your spouse about your finances creates a beautiful opportunity to build a deeper intimacy. Yes, it’s a risk, but I think it’s worth taking. Be vulnerable and build intimacy by combining your finances after marriage.

What do YOU Think? Should You Combine Finances After Marriage?

In the end, marriage is a team sport, so working together and pooling all of your resources is incredibly important.

If you choose to combine finances, I believe your marriage will flourish and your goals will fall one by one like a row of dominoes.

Choose to trust your spouse, be vulnerable, build intimacy, and deepen your relationship one financial decision at a time.

Our budget and goals changed our lives and it can change yours too.

5 Responses

  1. I know this isn’t the most popular advice but it sure worked for us. We’ve been married for 41 years and have combined everything possible. Even my 7 figure family inheritance immediately went into both our names in a joint investment account. I think if you are serious about your marriage you willingly share all decisions, all income and debts, good times and tough times. Partners for life. Good for you two!

    1. That’s incredible! Congrats on all of the anniversaries! I’m excited for all of the years between now and 41 years. Popular advice isn’t always the best advice. Finding what works is what matters

  2. We combined our finances from day one, but we also met in HS and have the exact same money temperament. That’s unusual. I think it depends on the people and when they get married (second+ marriages with exes and children from former marriage probably require different arrangements). I also think a related, but slightly different money discussion is regarding careers and how to navigate when both spouses want one outside the 9-5.

    1. You make an awesome point about 2nd + marriages. There’s so much more involved.

      At the very least, every couple needs to communicate and figure out a plan that makes sense for them.

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