The First Step in Combining Finances

Did you have a nice Valentine’s Day?  I don’t put a whole lot of stock into made up holidays but that doesn’t mean I don’t love love.  We made heart-shaped pancakes for dinner and then had a family game night.  It doesn’t get much more frugal than that.

One of the main reasons I don’t care much about Valentine’s day is that I feel loved my husband everyday.  I don’t need him to prove his love to me on a set date, he does that daily.  One of the reasons our relationship is strong is because of our common goals.  Not every single one of our goals is perfectly aligned, but for the most part we are both moving in the same direction.

Discussing, setting, and reaching goals together builds trust and unity in a relationship.  Having different goals and working against each other breaks down trust and fosters a feeling of “yours and mine” rather than “ours”.  That is why I’m a huge proponent of combined finances for married couples.  I do not suggest combining finances when you are not married, but once you are legally married then your partners actions affect you even if you have a “yours and mine” accounting method.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t test the waters of a joint account before tie the knot.  If things are serious and it’s reasonable to think that a walk down the aisle is possible someday you might want to take the leap into a joint savings account.

A joint savings account lets you set financial goals together as couple without the risk of signing over your paycheck to your significant other. Save up for a vacation together or a large purchase.  Or maybe put money aside to pay for that expensive hobby you both enjoy.  Or a fund to try every restaurant in town.  Maybe even start saving for that future wedding or down payment on your first house.  The goal can be whatever the two of you decide but it should be something for both of you as a couple.

This account serves several purposes.   First, it saves up money for some fun activities to do together.  Second, it gives you a chance to have some joint financial discussions and who knows where that will lead.  Third, it let’s you put some trust in your partner and see how well they keep their financial commitments.  Do they follow through or is there always an excuse?

Did you discuss money with your spouse when you were dating? 

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4 Responses to “The First Step in Combining Finances”

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  1. Betsy says:

    My husband and I have been married for 22 years and never once in our 2 years of dating ever talked about money. Now looking back it would have saved us a huge amount of heartache. We are now in our 3rd year of digging out of that black pit of debt and misery. We started with 82,000 and are now down to 14,000. We have endured a failed rental property which was a huge money pit, a handicapped child which was an extremely hard experience, and a home that we simply could not afford. If someone would have said you guys need a financial plan and helped us with a budget, things may have been different. We in our early 20’s simply did not know how important of a step it was to our future. I will make sure that our children understand the importance of a budget and even though your young, you still need to think ahead.

    • Ashley says:

      Discussing money with the person you are dating can be a hard thing to do. There is so much emotion tied up with money it can be a hard thing to talk about. Plus, it’s not romantic at all to be discussing income, debt, credit, etc. Yet, it’s so important!

  2. Michelle says:

    We have had completely joint accounts for nearly 5 years and are not married. While I know that it doesn’t work for some, it has worked for us this whole time.

  3. Many churches have engaged couples go through a marriage counseling class prior to getting married to discuss expectations on a variety of different subjects…but I don’t remember talking about finances – maybe some do. It is definitely a subject that should be discussed prior to marriage. We didn’t, and we didn’t talk about finances after we got married either….which is how we wound up as far into debt as we have.

    Maybe things would have been different if we had!

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