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Should You Combine Finances After Marriage?

A strong partnership requires honest financial communication. In the past, couples were frequently advised to merge their finances completely upon marriage. Couples would work towards this goal by establishing joint accounts and merging already existing ones. However, this once-common practice is becoming rare, particularly among younger generations.

According to a Bankrate survey from February 2023, 43% of Gen Z and 31% of millennials say they prefer to keep all of their accounts separate as opposed to 19% of Gen Xers and 18% of baby boomers.

If you’re getting ready to tie the knot, you may be unsure which option is best for you. To help you get started, we have compiled the pros and cons of keeping your funds separate and combined.

Pro: Making Simple, Effective Decisions

Seperating funds may be beneficial for some couples, but it may also result in difficult discussions. Which bills are paid by who? Should you divide equally when there is a difference in income? On a dating night, who should pick up the check?

If all of your spending and saving are deducted from the same account, you may find that managing your budget and paying your bills is lot easier.

Pro: More Savings Means More Interest

Compound interest causes your interest payments to rise if you have a joint savings account and you continue to deposit the same amount that you did before to merging your funds. For many couples, this may be very advantageous since it enables them to generate a little bit extra income from their nest egg.

Pro: Flexibility In Handling The Unexpected

Supporting one another through transitions or times of need is the foundation of all relationships. You could decide to enroll in college, experience an unexpected illness, or abruptly need to buy a new automobile. Curveballs are inevitable. Handling these curveballs might be more difficult if your funds are divided.

Bringing together finances and sharing funds can better equip you for scenarios that may need additional financial support. By having a joint bank account, you may avoid any further arguments that can arise from your partner paying "your" expenses or transferring money into your account.

Pro: Common Financial Goals

We all have specific goals we wish to achieve in life. Sometimes, these goals can be achieved much easier when you have someone working towards them with you. When you join your finances after becoming married, it can become much easier to set up and walk the journey of reaching your money goals together. You may determine your desired outcomes by creating objectives based on your overall income and outgoing costs. Let's imagine, for instance, that after getting married, you and your spouse want to move into your own house instead of continuing to rent. When you and your partner are each contributing the same amount of effort, working toward the purchase of your dream house may be made much simpler.

Con: Relinquishing Financial Independence

While exposing your financial secrets might be beneficial, for some people complete openness can sometimes be restricting and difficult to manage. For example, for many people consulting their partner on random and individual purchases can cause frustration or make them feel like they have lost their autonomy. Once you combine finances as a couple, it becomes the couple's money, not just the individual's. So, accepting that it might not be possible to spend as you please is a stepping stone you will have to work through.

Con: Sharing the Trouble

Combining funds might result in both more zeroes in your bank account and potential complications. All of a sudden, your partner’s money troubles become your money troubles. If one spouse enters a marriage with significant financial issues, such as excessive debt or poor credit, this might hurt the marriage. In certain situations, it may be preferable to keep the accounts separate while the indebted spouse works on bettering their financial situation.

Con: Divorce

The last thing on a newlywed couple's mind is divorce, but you never know what may happen in life. Ending a marriage is undoubtedly difficult, but it becomes even more difficult if the couple's finances are combined.

If you've combined your finances and decide to get a divorce, you might need a third party to assist you in going through your finances to divide them in a legally fair manner. For example, a couple must consider how they will divide any money placed in joint bank accounts, the debt on credit cards used by both parties, loans under both names, mortgages, and more.

Con: Different Perspectives

Couples often can't agree on where to eat, what movie to see, what music to listen to, and many other everyday things. What if, however, each partner has a different opinion of what constitutes living a financially responsible life? Perhaps one partner chooses to make car loan payments while the other believes it would be wiser to make investments. Or perhaps one partner practices modest living while the other often overspends. If you're in a situation like this, combining your finances may be bad for your relationship as well as your pocketbook .

What Should You Do?

There’s no right or wrong way to make money decisions with your partner. As long as you come to a compromise that works for both of you, that is. The most crucial thing is that you and your spouse have a common agreement, regardless of whether you wish to keep your finances separate from one another, have them all combined, or operate somewhere in the middle. If you and your spouse feel like you need more assistance in making financial decisions, Fourth Avenue Financial is here to help.

At Fourth Avenue Financial, our first priority is your overall financial success, no matter what life events come your way. We want to help you develop, implement, and monitor a strategy designed to address your situation to ensure all your investments set you up for a path of financial success. If you are ready to start planning for your financial future, we are here to help. Contact us today at (304) 746 7977 to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced financial advisors or schedule online:

Securities are offered through J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. (JWC), Member FINRA / SIPC. Advisory Services are offered through J.W. Cole Advisors, Inc. (JWCA). Fourth Avenue Financial and JWC/ JWCA are unaffiliated entities.

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