Combining finances before marriage can feel a bit intimidating. You're ready to spend your lives together, and that means money has to be part of your lives too. Whether you decide to combine your finances or not, being on the same page is a big help as you work toward your goals as a couple.
Best Way to Merge Finances After Marriage
When it comes to marriage, talking about finances is more than just sharing your respective monthly incomes and how much money you have saved in the bank. Proactively discussing your money can save you and your partner from a lot of headaches down the road and will likely help you save more and achieve your financial goals faster. For even better money management, and to stay in the same page about money, sit down every pay period and pay your bills together. It only takes a few minutes and will help keep your budget (and any spending rules you've both agreed to) top of mind so you can reach your financial goals together.
How to Combine Expenses After Getting Married
- Talk about what money means to you: When you think about money, do you think about security? Or, is the first thing that comes to mind all the cool stuff you can buy? Also discuss how you have both managed your money until now so you can understand were you could work together to improve spending habits. Knowing where each of you stands with money can help you understand each other better and helps you see where you might need to help hold the other accountable.
- Lay it all out: This includes account balances in your retirement, not just your checking and savings accounts. List out all of your debts as well, so you can set a plan for paying it off and then start saving for your goals. Consider also discussing who will keep track of spending and bills to help keep both of you within budget. Then, share your financial dreams and what you hope to achieve in the near future or in a few years' time.
- Set a few rules: Discuss some ground rules about spending and borrowing, and stick to them. For example, you might have a rule that your joint savings account will always have enough to pay for three months of expenses in case one or both of you lose your job or get sick. Another rule might be that you only use your credit cards for emergencies, or that you will only buy a car with cash rather than getting a loan.
- Communicate: Overspending happens, but how you talk to each other about it is what matters. For example, if your partner spent $300 instead of the $200 you agreed to budget for groceries, you might say "I was looking at our accounts today and noticed that our grocery spending is higher than the amount we set. When you went shopping, did you get extra things or should we adjust how much we're budgeting?"". This way, it keeps the focus on the topic, which is your budget.
Want help managing your money?
We're here to help! No question is too small, and with WaFd Bank you also have access to tools and services to help you manage your finances and get the most from your money. Visit us at your neighborhood branch, give us a call at 1-800-324-9375, or check out what WaFd online banking has to offer.