(Closed) Combining Finances – How did you do it?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
666 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Generally, I don’t believe in combining money before the legal marriage, so I would recommend waiting for the paperwork before you do combine things.  

I haven’t actually done this yet, but my planning for once we’re married is that we’ll get a new joint checking account and joint saving account at his Credit Union.  Then we’ll both switch our direct deposits to the new account for new money coming in.  We’ll switch over payments as we can, after a couple paychecks come in.

We will transfer any extra money from our old accounts and close them a while later – when we’re sure all checks have cleared and all autopays and transfers have been closed or changed over. 

We’ll get new credit cards under joint accounts, and close the old ones (we don’t carry balances but do use cards for most purchasing).

I was toying with the idea of keeping separate checking accounts to use for individual “fun money” and maybe each depositing 10% of our incomes or some set amounts into them, but Fiance isn’t too keen, so I think we won’t do that.  I think we’ll maybe set up a limit to how much money we can spend on any given purchase without clearing it with the other.  Maybe $100 for regular things, and $250 or $500 for special things (Christmas gifts, anniversary, etc).  

We each have investment accounts and I have no idea about combining those.  Our retirement accounts will stay individual, of course, but we also have outside investments.  Mine are mostly at a large online brokerage, and his are in a couple individual mutual funds.   Maybe we’ll just leave those as they are and get a joint brokerage account for new money to invest?  I don’t know.  This is one area I need to do a lot more research on!

Our state is a marital property state, so even if we did keep some stuff (investment accounts) separate, it wouldn’t necessarily stay separate legally.  You might see if the state you are in is a marital property state, and just be aware if you do want to keep anything separate that you have to take particular steps (not mingle money, etc).

We don’t have any debts other than our mortgages, so luckily we don’t have to worry too much about debt, but I would say if you’re marrying someone you’re marrying their debt and it should be paid out of joint funds.  You might each try to pay down debt as much as possible before marrying, just to see what you can get cleared up.  I always advocate getting rid of debt!!!

Good luck!


Post # 4
8396 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

We added him to my account and closed his after we had transferred all the auto-pay stuff. We only have one joint checking and savings and it works fine for us.

Post # 5
556 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@MarchBride2013:  After we got married, we just added him to my accounts and closed out his. We don’t have any separate accounts, just joint checking and savings.

Post # 6
2893 posts
Sugar bee

I was already debt free. He had debt but had just started a new job so we could be together more that paid less than the 1st. It made no sense for him to do that and struggle with the loss of income (especially since I make 2-3 times as much) so we dumped it all into a joint checking and savings. I thought about doing individual accounts as well but we have a VERY good balance and understanding when it comes to individual purchases so even that was unnecessary. We’re still trying to pay off his debt and have made great strides and I wouldn’t change the way we did it.

Post # 7
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

Mr. Wallaby and I have been talking a lot about this lately, because we just moved in together and our wedding is in <2 weeks. When we get back from the honeymoon, after I get my name changed and have all my new IDs, we will close several accounts. Here’s what our accounts look like:

Mr. W has checking and savings accounts with Chase, and 2 credit cards

I have checking and savings accounts with Bank of America and a checking account with Chase. I have 3 credit cards.

We will keep Mr. W’s Chase accounts and credit cards, and I will keep my checking account at Chase but close my Bank of America accounts. We’ll create a third checking account for Mr. W, so that he and I each have our own, personal checking account for our “allowance” – we’re each keeping 5% of our monthly combined salary as spending money, so we don’t argue over frivolous things (I can get expensive haircuts, and Mr. W can waste spend money on electronics). All of the living expenses, including the mortgage and Mr. W’s car payment, will come out of our shared Chase checking account, and we’ll put a certain percentage of our monthly income in Mr. K’s Chase savings account (which we’ll add my name onto). We are working with a financial advisor who is going to start investing some of our savings, so that will come out of the joint savings account and go into stocks and mutual funds. The “spending money accounts” were highly recommended by a lot of the married couples we’ve talked to, so we’ll at least give them a try for the first year of marriage. Before we combine finances we’re going to sit down and discuss what counts as discretionary spending (i.e. use your “allowance”) versus living expenses (i.e. coming out of the joint account). And we are keeping Chase for all of the checking/savings accounts (as well as the credit cards, actually) to simplify transferring money and making payments.

As far as debt goes, Mr. W owns a house and has a car payment. Until now I’ve been renting, and I paid cash for my car so I don’t owe any money on it. We will assume joint responsibility for both of his debts, since that seems fairest for us as a married couple. Since you two are not married yet, you might want to continue to pay off your debt separately until you are married, just for fairness’s sake.

Post # 8
14501 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I am a believer that once married, finances are “ours” and no longer yours and mine, including debt and that the couple should work as a team to pay down the loans as it would benefit you two as a unit.  So if you both have your own debt coming in, I would sit down and look at them all together, and work out a plan to pay them off in a way that is most beneficially to both of you – ie that results in the least interest paid over all, or a good snow ball debt reduction plan.

We just added each other to our accounts and continued to manage our own income.  We sort of split the bills/mortage somewhat evenly so that neither account drops too low, but we’re not keeping track.  If we need more money to cover big expenses like a vacation we just transfer some.  That’s getting annoying so we’re going to just do full joint once we get to a bank to set it up.

Post # 9
1030 posts
Bumble bee

We have a joint account that we transfer money into each month. The money from that pays for rent, bills and food.

Then we have our own individual current accounts and savings accounts. Maybe we’ll open up a joint savings one when we’re married!

Post # 10
2902 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

my plan is to have a joint chequing and savings account + each have a savings (spending) account where money for unnecessary (wants rather than needs such as a fancy pair of boots or a splurge on make up) purchases go. Being the sort of person I am I definitely need some sort of independance. Also, if I want something then I want to be able to buy it without having to inform anyone, including my Fiance. I feel if everything is joint then everything needs to be discussed. 

Post # 11
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor

@FauxBoho:  This. That’s exactly how I feel.

Post # 12
3720 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Fiance and I are in this process (we moved in 2 months ago). We are treating it like a team effort– I pay the cell phone bill, food, and cable (and my student loans). He pays rent. When we get married, we will have one joint checking account, one savings, account, and 3 credit cards (all paid off). Two will be mine and he won’t use them (but will be an authorized user) and he will have his (again, I will be an authorized user, but won’t use).

We will treat my debt as our debt and our combined savings as our savings. I believe the plan is that we will start paying down my school debt and saving for a house. We will live off of part of his salary and use the other part of his and my entire salary to pay off debt and save. Then when the debt is gone, it will go to day care and college savings.


Post # 13
3720 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@FauxBoho:  This is how we feel. When we were in our pre-marital counseling class the question came up about how much money we were allowed to spend without asking permssion. Our group leader said $50 and we laughed– we both can drop that at a random dinner with friends. Similarly, I am not going to ask permission to spend $200 of my money at Target. Our approach is that we won’t ask each other about our credit card bills unless it seems way too high or becomes a problem. 

In general, we make each other aware of big purchases (such as “I bought tickets for the play we are seeing with your parents” or “I am going to book the trip to AC with the boys”), but it isn’t asking permission. 

Post # 14
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Fiance and I have talked about this a lot. I have a degree in finance and work at a bank and Fiance is a math teacher and is dying to get out of debt (student loans). We have decided that we will have a joing checking and savings that our direct deposits will go into. Then we will each have a separate checking account with a set amount going into them each week. That way we don’t have to worry about little day to day expenses messing up the account that our bills come out of, (I see that a lot at work). Also, I like the idea of separate accounts because if I want to buy him a birthday present, I dont want him to be able to look online and see that I made a purchase for him. As far as credit cards go, I plan on paying my last 2 off soon and keeping them open but shredding them (the longer you keep CCs open the better your credit score will be) but we will keep FI’s CC for emergencies. His has the highest limit with the lowest interest rate so it just makes more sense to keep his as opposed to mine. Overall, we seem to have everything figured out but money is always a touchy subject. Fiance is dead set on paying off our student loans and would rather drain the account to pay extra than take $40 each month to enjoy life a little. Its something we are working on but I am so thankful that he is too concerned rather than not concerned at all about debt. lol

Post # 15
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

He added me to his account about a year ago (before we got engaged). It has been really helpful in helping us manage our money because it is all in the same place

Post # 16
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We have a joint account for household expenses along with a monthly budget where we log every expense and allocate it to that fund to keep track of how we are doing.  We have a joint savings account and each have our own personal checkings.  We are on all of each others accounts but I obviously don’t spend out of his personal checking.  Twice a month $$ is auto-deposited like this:

His checking: $225

Her checking: $225

Joint savings: $750

Joint checking: remainder of funds which is about $1600-$1700

The joint is used only when the purchase is mutually beneficial.  So if we order in pizza for the both of us, then it comes from joint.  If he’s at the house with his buddies watching football and I am not there, then it comes from his checking.  I make more $$ than he does so the “remainder of funds” is mostly from my pay but we decided that we should each get the same allowance regardless of who makes more $$.  Car payments, insurance, joint cell plan all comes out of joint account. 

If I choose to spend $500 on a pair of shoes, that is my business and my $$ so he does not say anything to me. If I decide to buy something on my credit card, that is just for me, than i am responsible for paying it back.  We do not have joint credit cards because we don’t really have any need to borrow $$. 

I also do not believe in buying cars together or joint credit cards.  Why tie up both people’s credit when you only need to tie up one?  It is all marital property so it doesn’t matter whose name is on what. 

We definitely treat expenses and debt as “ours” versus his or hers even though we have our own little bit of $$.  I think having a little bit of your own helps keep the sanity and prevents quibbling over $50 here and there.

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