How to combine finances after marriage? It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been married for a few hours or half a century, marriage is a compromise. If you understand this concept, making your marriage work will be far easier. One aspect of marriage where you’ll always find challenges is “finances.”
A recent study revealed that more than 21 percent of divorce cases were caused by finances. If you aren’t married, this must be quite scary. The good news is that there are ways to combine finances without conflict in marriage.
Explaining what it Means to Combine Finances
You are probably trying to wrap your head around combining finances after marriage. What does it even mean? Truth be told, it could mean several things.
For some couples, it means combining credit cards or bank accounts. For others, it refers to co-signing on loans as a unit. You’ll also find certain couples combining their bank accounts yet keeping their other finances separate.
Here’s the truth. Combining finances after marriage is relative. It depends on your personality and what works best for you and your partner. Whichever method you choose, it should help your home achieve financial success.
Should you Combine Finances After Marriage?
The answer to the question should you combine finances after marriage should come before the marriage, which is known as a prenuptial agreement.
In other words, how to manage your finances should be one of the essential topics to cover before going into marriage
However, research has shown that a family bond increases by 30% when marriage mates have a good understanding of the financial condition of the home.
Therefore, the decision to combine finances or not largely depends on the couple.
Also Read: How to Start Small Business in Nigeria
Helpful Tips to Combine Finances After Marriage
The most difficult aspect of combining your finances as a couple is the first discussion. Most couples find it difficult to discuss money issues. Asides from this, both of you may have different beliefs about money and financial principles. With the tips in this section, you no longer have to feel awkward about discussing money issues with your spouse.
Discuss your finances often
Communication is the oil that lubricates the wheels of marriage. Both of you have committed your lives to each other, so you must be ready to talk about anything. As couples, you should communicate about the current state of your finances as well as your financial goals.
What this means is that both of you must talk about your savings, investments, earnings, and debts. Having this conversation frequently is advisable to help avoid communication issues. Note that this conversation should not be an argument or a fight. So you must be ready to listen to each other and present constructive suggestions on improving your finances.
Draw up a budget together
To draw up a budget, you need to first lay all the cards about your income and expenses on the table. Everything. This includes your insurance, utilities, mortgage, rent, etc. You should also discuss non-essential expenses such as traveling, shopping, visiting the cinemas, amongst others.
When you do this, it gives you a picture of how much you will be spending for the period in question. Your next line of action is to decide who’ll be paying for what. There aren’t any specific rules guiding this, however, you both need to be fair to each other.
If you don’t discuss this and make decisions, there’ll be conflict later on. For example, if you are not sure who’s paying a loan, both of you may assume it has been paid by the other party. This means that you now have to deal with a late payment penalty, an avoidable expense.
Discuss joint accounts
One of the most challenging issues when it comes to combining finances after marriage is “joint accounts.” While some folks don’t see it as an issue, others would not even want to hear of it.
When it comes to keeping joint accounts, there are no specific rules. You can decide to keep joint accounts or decide against it. If you decide on it, then you should discuss whether it will be a savings or current account.
Also, you need to be clear on whether you both will have individual accounts asides from the joint account. Lay out all the possible options and discuss each extensively before making your choice.
Set financial goals
Every family should set financial goals. This is one of the main reasons behind combining finances after marriage. Setting financial goals is one of the keys to financial success.
To do this, you both need to sit down frequently to draw up a financial plan. Here are some of the things that you should discuss:
- How to pay off debts aggressively.
- Setting up and funding an emergency account.
- Making contributions to both your retirement accounts.
- Saving towards achieving material and non-material goals such as purchasing a home, traveling abroad on holiday, etc.
Create both short and long-term financial goals. Ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable. You can set up a “financial vision board” to motivate you towards achieving the goals set.
Talk about big purchases
While this may seem usual for some couples, others have serious issues here. If you are married to a “big spender,” you will understand what this means. Some people are such impulsive buyers that they wouldn’t even tell their spouses before making a big purchase.
Doing this could result in very serious issues that can even lead to divorce, especially when a joint account is involved. Before you make a big purchase, you should discuss it with your spouse. It doesn’t matter if you run a joint account with your spouse or not.
When you do, it shows that you respect your spouse and value accountability. We cannot stress how important communication is to sustaining a marriage.
Discuss life insurance
Whether you have children or not, you should consider life insurance. It is even more important when you have financial commitments like major debts, mortgages, and childcare expenses.
Why do you need life insurance? It helps to provide your dependents a lump sum payment in the event of your death. The amount of life insurance that you invest in is dependent on your income and how much of it you want to cover.
Making it easy
Combining finances after marriage isn’t so hard after all even though it seems like a difficult task. With the tips above, you can achieve this goal easily. Remember that after you get married, you and your spouse become a unit. Working together as one helps you to grow stronger.