Should You Combine Finances When You Get Married

by Jon Dulin on December 19, 2012 · 10 comments

Marriage and MoneyThe following is a guest post. If you would like to submit a guest post, please read my guidelines.

When you get married, talking about finances can be a difficult task. You have been living one way your entire life and your spouse might not share the same tendencies. You might bring in more money than your spouse and think that you deserve to spend more than your significant other. There is so much to think about when you get married and sometimes finances can be a touchy subject.

About Us

When Kim and I got married, it was apparent that she and I both had a significant amount of debt. We totaled it up and it came out to around $52,000 outside of the two mortgages we had! We realized that we needed to create a Financial Game Plan and stick to it. We had separate accounts but that made it difficult for us to be on the same page. It was hard to keep track of how much money we had to pay down debt and thus we decided to combine our finances. With all of our income and all of our expenses being in one place, it was much easier to keep track and to be on the same page.

Issues When Combining Finances

One major challenge that can occur is when your spouse purchases an item without telling you. You log into your bank account only to find a few hundred-dollar purchase that was not discussed. Although this can be challenging, it is a form accountability that we should have if we really want to achieve our financial goals. It is a way to be transparent with one another so that you can move forward. Although this can be a difficult step to take, it was one of the best things that we ever did. You have to remember that your spouse is on the same side as you. It is not you versus them.

Another thing that we discovered is that combining our accounts saved us money. We realized that there were multiple items that we were paying more for than we needed to; Now that we were married we could get a better deal. Examples included things like car insurance, cell phone bills, health insurance, etc. I think we saved close to $100 per month by combining our car insurance policies and $60 per month by cancelling her phone and getting a family plan. It might not sound like a lot but when we were trying to get out of debt, every little bit helped.

Lastly, we felt more unified when we combined our finances. When we decided to take our bank accounts and merge them, it was very symbolic of starting a new life together. We both had lived separate lives for so long and now we are committing to spend the rest of our lives together. When our two paths converged and made one, it made sense to put everything into one place. To live life as a team and make decisions together. To this day my wife will tell you that working on our finances together was one of the most unifying experiences we have ever had.

Do you combine your finances? If so, what has your experience been like?

About Deacon Hayes
My wife and I paid off $52,000 in 18 months and now I have a passion to help others get from
where they are to where they want to be; Especially when it comes to managing their finances. In 2010, I started the blog, WellKeptWallet.com and it has become the primary outlet for this passion.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

WorkSaveLive December 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

We combined our finances as soon as we got married and it’s been great. Even though my wife and I being very similar, we’ve never had a financial fight. We’ve been together for 7 years and married for 3. Managing money together allows us to communicate with one another and there is definitely a “team” feeling as we’re working to accomplish the same goals.
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Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet December 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

@WorkSaveLive: That is great to hear that you guys have never had a financial fight. It is amazing that when you both have the same goals, it becomes much easier to talk about finances and work together towards achieving those goals.
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Christian L. December 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

Deacon,
Don’t sell yourself short on that $160 savings per month. That’s $1,920 a year! No wonder you and your wife got out of debt so quickly.

I’m single right now, but I imagine I’ll combine my finances if a lady will have me. If she’s only interested in my money, I won’t be a part of it. But if she did care about my finances, she’d be happy to know I’m debt free, securely employed and saving for retirement.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

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Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet December 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

@Christian L.: It sounds like you are in a great financial position. Well done. Good call on staying away from the ladies that only want you for your money, those relationships don’t last. Mainly because those type of women are spenders and the money runs out :) Congrats on being debt-free!
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John S @ Frugal Rules December 19, 2012 at 11:35 am

We combined our finances right after getting married. We view being married as being part of a team, so combining money was just natural. It does help us save money and we have the same outlook on money so it makes things much easier.
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Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet December 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

@John S @ Frugal Rules: That is great to hear!
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Emily @ evolvingPF December 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm

We didn’t consider any alternatives to combining finances after we were married – we just think it’s the right thing to do. It didn’t save us any money, though, except for a little on car insurance, until a couple years into our marriage. It’s been wonderful for the unity objective, though. We never even make purchases without consulting with one another.
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Brian Fourman December 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Your statement “we felt more unified when we combined our finances” could not be more true. Once your married, it’s not my money or her money anymore…it’s OUR money. Making financial decisions together does more, in a quicker amount of time, than anything else to move your relationship forward.

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Deacon @ Well Kept Wallet December 21, 2012 at 10:27 am

@Brian Fourman: Well said Brian!
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Rob May 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Great discussion here. I think it can be worth while to combine accounts as you have pointed out some very valid reasons. But like you said, accountability is a must and both need to be on the same page. Otherwise one of the two will feel like they are not living up to their end of the bargain :)

Rob.
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