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Should You Merge Finances?

I wanted to cap off this week’s series about finance for couples with a look at why you should or shouldn’t merge finances when you get married.  I know from personal experience that this can be tough conversation given how emotional dealing with money can become, especially when there’s a difference in income or assets between spouses.  It’s important to remember not to rush things and also be intentional in the discussion, set time aside to make sure both of you are prepared. Off the cuff discussions can quickly spiral, and nobody wants that.  All of that being said, I’ll outline a few of the positives of merging finances and give warning about some pitfalls, and feel free to use this when having that discussion with your spouse.

  1. Simplicity- One of the biggest reasons to combine finances is that it makes things simpler.  You never have to figure who is paying which bill or which account is best to use for which situation, that headache is all eliminated.  When all of the money is going into and out of the same pot, it makes a lot of decisions easier and simpler.

  2. Creates Shared Goals- I mentioned in a previous post that you should lay out goals and values when getting married, and merging finances is a great way to emphasize being on the same team.  Merging can help couples focus in on their goals by creating that sense of togetherness.

  3. Makes Planning Easier- When you combine finances it allows both of you have to accurate sense of where you are which helps determine where you can go.  By laying all of your cards on the table it’s much easier to see the whole picture as opposed to trying to reach shared goals individually.

Now let’s look at the potential downsides of combining finances.

  1. Can Cause Arguments- If you decide to merge finances without going through the steps outlined here, that’s asking for trouble down the road.  We’ve discussed how emotional the issue of money can be, so without going through the steps to make sure you’re both on the same page before merging can lead to big disagreements later on.  

  2. Credit Issues- Occasionally one spouse will come with a bad credit rating for any number of reasons, and it may be more useful to keep finances separate until they are able to raise their credit rating.  

  3. Difference in Financial Habit- When you as a couple have differences in financial habits such as one person is frugal and one likes to spend, it can create tension to have combined finances.  Again, communication and walking through your roadmap can help warn of you trouble ahead.

Here’s a quick list on some of the pros and cons to merging finances after you get married, and if there are other reasons that you’ve found particularly compelling I’d love to hear them.  If you’re willing, leave those reasons in the comments or send me a message as I’m curious to see what compelled you to decide one way or the other.  

financial planning for couples