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married finances

Managing Money When You’re Married

One of the biggest challenges that many married couples face is managing their money. This is especially true for newlyweds, but it can still be an issue for those who have been married for a while.

There are many things to consider when deciding how to manage your money as a couple.

When couples get together, each person likely has their own way of managing their finances. However, after they get married, they’ll need to work together. However, there are different ways to handle your money as a couple and there is no “one size fits all” approach that will be perfect for everyone.

How you approach money management as a couple will depend on your individual attitudes towards money and how you function as a couple.

One aspect that is universal is that couples should talk to one another about money, budgets, spending, and finances before they get married and frequently once they are married.

Before your wedding, it’s important to understand each person’s financial situation and their views on money and debt. Make sure that each of you provides a full picture of your financial situation to your partner and that you focus on being transparent and honest with one another. Money issues are one of the main reasons that couples argue, so the more you work together, the better.

Ways to Manage Money as a Couple

As mentioned, there is no one solution that is perfect for everyone. Each option has its own pros and cons and it’s important to consider these while you and your spouse discuss how to manage your money.

Some ways that couples manage their money include:

  • Each spouse maintaining their own separate financial accounts
    • In this option, each spouse maintains their own separate bank accounts and spends money from their account as they see fit.
    • If you choose this option, the couple will need to come up with a strategy for how bills and household expenses will be managed. You may choose to pay half of each expense, to share the cost of expenses based on your income, or to divide up expenses between the two of you. For instance, you may decide that one person is responsible for paying the electrical bill while the other handles the gas bill.
    • In this situation, you’ll need to make sure you split bills in a manner that makes sense for both of you.
    • You may also want to both commit to saving a certain amount each month so you can achieve your goals (such as putting aside money for a joint vacation, for instance).
  • Partially merging finances
    • You may decide to each keep your own separate account while opening a new account to handle your mutual expenses. This allows you to maintain some financial independence while simplifying the process of paying bills.
    • You’ll need to make sure that each person in the couple commits to putting a certain amount into the joint account each month so your expenses are covered. You can decide that each person puts in the same amount, but this may not work if one spouse earns significantly more than the other. A common solution to this problem is to have each person put in a certain percentage of their income to cover joint expenses.
  • Combining finances
    • Some couples decide to set up a joint bank account that they both share and use for everything. This means both members of the couple will have your pay deposited in this account and all of bills will come from this account as well.
    • This strategy will require that both partners work together to manage money. If one spouse spends a lot more than the other, this will be quite obvious and it could lead to arguments.

Whichever strategy you choose, it’s important that you work together as a couple, even if you’re keeping separate accounts. Come up with goals that both of you have (such as saving to buy a house, take a vacation, etc.) and create a plan for how to achieve them. Determine how much you should both put aside for emergencies, retirement, etc.

Talk to one another about money frequently, respect one another, and don’t hide anything from your partner. This will make money management easier and less stressful.