Joint finances mean something different for every couple. Some keep their funds separate and only share a checking account for joint expenses. Others combine everything — bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and more. There’s no wrong answer. Instead, it’s important to find the solution that works best for you and your partner or spouse.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to combine finances after marriage. When it comes to money and marriage, openness, candor, and honesty are essential.
·Set a Time to Talk
Don't spring a money conversation on your spouse when they aren't expecting it. Set aside time to regularly meeting and discuss your financial situation.
·Recognize Your Differences
Everyone has a different relationship with money. It's not a requirement that you understand why your spouse feels the way they do, but it is important that you recognize and respect those feelings.
·One Size Does Not Fit All
Strategies and techniques that work for you may not work for your spouse. Trying to force someone to adopt methods that aren't comfortable for them can potentially make matters worse.
·Practice Makes Perfect
Money is not a one and done conversation. It's something you'll need to come back to again and again. But the good news is that the more you talk about money, the easier it becomes.
Create a Marital Balance Sheet
A marital balance sheet details: assets (bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, property) and debts (student loans, mortgages, auto loans, credit cards) and whom they belong to.
Once you’ve created your marital balance sheet, you’ll need to identify and discuss any surprises. Whether it’s unexpected credit card balances or staggering student loan debt, you’ll need to come to terms with your current financial status as a couple.
Acknowledge Your Differences
Every couple is different and every individual has their own unique background and life experiences. That means that you likely have very different hopes, fears, and expectations when it comes to money. Instead of viewing your differences as a problem, try to see them as a source of strength.
Follow the Money
A great way for couples to avoid fights about money is to track their spending. When do that together, there are far fewer surprises. Canopy can introduce you to tools and methods to help you track your monthly income and expenses so you’re always aware of where you’re at financially.
Evaluate and Refine
Set up a plan and follow the steps. When you meet to talk money, discuss, what worked, what didn’t, and what you could tweak to get a better result. Use that information to determine what changes to make and start the process all over again. No system is perfect, but it can always be improved.
Expect Things to Get Easier Over Time
Over time, almost every couple learns to get better at managing money together. The more you work together, the easier it will be. Money is important, but it’s not everything. Shared goals, common values, and open dialogue will help you and your spouse create a happy and healthy financial life together.