Getting Married – How to Merge Finances

posted 4 months ago in Relationships
Post # 15
Member
369 posts
Helper bee

We have:

Joint checking: for monthly expenses. Since this is fairly fixed, we calculated a % amount that goes in here

Joint savings: for annual expenses, home expenses, car expenses, vacations, general emergency savings. Every year we save % of home value towards maintenance/repairs, and we forecast vacations and contribute %amount in joint savings

Joint credit card: for monthly expenses, with secondary card holder. we pay out of joint checking/savings

Individual checking: Our paychecks go in here before deducting for joint expenses

Individual retirement/401k: a percentage of our salaries go here

Individual Roth IRA: we both contribute maximum annual amount each

Individual post tax investments: we both have stocks and other investments in individual accounts. We are 5 years apart and have different appetites for risk.  We both research our own investment strategies, and currently competing against each other to see who comes out ahead in 10 years.

Individual credit cards and other loans: We do not consolidate our debt. His debt is his, mine is mine.

When we have kids, we are going to adjust our contribution to our joint checking and joint savings to match kids expenditures and open investment accounts for them separately.

Each year we do a year-review of our budget vs actual expenses. We then take that into account for next years projection and include prospective projects (renovations/vacations/big ticket purchases), and adjust our contributions that way. We over contribute to the joint checking and if there is left-over (if we underspend) that is our “bonus” money at the end of the year and we spend it on something nice.

This may not work for everybody but both of us enjoy managing money so this works for us.

 

Post # 16
Member
2903 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2006

We joined everything. Checking, savings, cell phone plans, the whole 9 yards. What’s his is mine and what’s mine is his. I can’t imagine having it any other way. 

Post # 17
Member
2778 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

One quick tangent before I break down our system…if you do not have a joint account before the wedding, make sure to have your respective families spread the word that any checks written as wedding gifts need to be written to just one of you, not to both. We ran into this issue, and our banks were big pains in the rear about it. Also, checks to you need to be in your current name because it will take a while to get it legally changed IF you are doing so.

Anyway, on to the answer. I am the main financial manager in the marriage, but we make sure to discuss significant decisions. We have a joint checking account that paychecks and joint monetary gifts go into that we use for bills, fun stuff we do together, etc. The joint savings has a set amount put in every month plus any significant leftover checking account funds. We have a joint credit card and debit cards connected to the checking account. 

We also have separate checking accounts we use for fun monies for ourselves, paying off previous individual debt, etc. We have an agreed upon equal amount that automatically comes out of the joint checking each month. We have also agreed that any monetary gifts given to us individually can go into the personal accounts. Any retirement and investment accounts are also separate. 

Post # 18
Member
366 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2019

We do what HisMoon does. I have a checking, he has a checking, we have a checking. I have a savings, he has a savings, we have a savings. We both put 90% of our income into the joint pot and then I manage it for all shared expenses. The remaining 10% is in our personal savings for us. We started out more separate but he now makes so much more than me, yet I do all of the shopping and bill managing, that it got annoying to always have him transfer money to me to cover bills. This way, he still has his own pot of money to build and save and feel autonomous with (I would’ve gone fully joint, but it wasn’t his preference) but we are also building our joint savings for big purchases and emergencies

Post # 19
Member
1420 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I started a new job right after we got married, so we added me on to his existing checking account, and I set up my automatic deposit to put my paychecks into it. We also added each other on as authorized users on our respective credit card accounts. We both also closed one extraneous credit card account. We have completely merged finances, and it has worked out just fine. We have a similar philosophy when it comes to saving and spending. Right now, rather than saving a ton, we’re throwing all our extra money at my absolutely absurd medical school loan debt. Once that is paid off, we’ll have to discuss our strategy for saving. Communication is absolutely key when it comes to combining finances. You also have to have a good level of trust in the other person. 

Post # 20
Member
1216 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

We set up a joint account when we got married but also kept our own individual ones. Mostly because it seemed like a hassle to change that and we could just keep our own for “fun money” or whatever. We each direct deposit a certain % of our paychecks in the joint fund and the rest in our individual ones. We still pretty much feel like it’s all just “our” money though, even though technically it’s being kept in separate accounts, and will move money around when needed. We both have some investment accounts that are technically individual but we’re the beneficiaries on each others’.

Post # 21
Member
2310 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Courthouse

We have a joint checking account that we pay for 95% of our bills and purchases from.

We each have our own credit cards that we don’t have access to. We hardly use those and pay them off every month. 

I really think joint finances are usually easier and make budgeting easier. I calculate how much we spend each month on bills, groceries and non-necessities. It’s easy peasy, I just open up our checking app and look at the statements. We can see all of our bills coming out so we know where we stand financially. 

My husband makes almost 3 times more than me. Sometimes 4 times if it’s a good year. We agreed before we got married that we wanted to share everything. We also are both naturally frugal and don’t spend a lot of money. He spends a little here and there on video games or football games. I buy clothes, shoes, accessories here and there. We don’t have any issues because it evens out. I think joint finances will only be successful if you spend similarly. 

Post # 22
Member
807 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

I strongly urge proportional-to-earnings contributions rather than half and half. (Actually, I really like everything is ours dumped together, but sometimes you have to work toward that; it took us about six years to reach that point.)

But each of you should get an allowance–however small, some money that you don’t have to ask the other person about spending. 

Also, talk about inheritances and gifts to just one of you. Legally they aren’t community property–how are you going to treat them? (We treat them as community property, but each of us always gets a small amount that is separate.)

Post # 23
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee

crashbee :  This is how hubby and I do it. One joint checking account for bills and a joint savings account for goals (car, home and maternity leave). One separate account each for personal savings (retirement planning usually) and a separate checking account each for personal spending. I like to take out cash for my personal spending so that I don’t have to math it out.

We are fully united in our money yet we still have independence through our personal accounts. I guess the most important part is that the money is always deposited into one joint account before being moved around. Money is a large part of life. If you are not willing to be joined in money, there is no point in getting married.

Post # 24
Member
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre

We combined our finances once we both started our firdt jobs. We were 16 and we opened our first accounts together.

Post # 25
Member
4817 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

Joint finances was a gradual thing for us, while we were dating but living together we opened a joint account and head deposited X into it and kept the rest of our salary.

After we bought a house and started planning a wedding we flipped it and we both keep X in our own accounts and transfer everything else to joint so that regardless of pay rises we each have the same spending money.

We have active social lives and we like having our own cards with our own money so we can spend it on drinks and clothes etc without feeling like we need to clear it with the other person.

As we move past 30 and start to plan for kids we will probably reduce the amount we keep as fun money and do 95% of our spending from the joint account. 

Post # 26
Member
1119 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

We share everything. When we were engaged, right before the wedding we closed our personal accounts and opened a joint account. Darling Husband had a business account for his company, which he added me to as well. We have two credit cards that are joint but kept our pre-marriage CC’s to ourselves. I generally pay all of the bills, but recently Darling Husband took over some stuff. But he didn’t have any of the login info to his own credit cards. Seriously. So I made what I call “Our Last Name Financial Cheat Sheet” And it’s just a massive list of alllll of our accounts (banks, CC, cable, electric, insurance, mortgage, etc) logins and passwords, with our social security numbers and business legal information. It’s really handy! Now we both have access to literally everything and it works out well for us

Post # 27
Member
1148 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2021 - City, State

We won’t combine finances as he has debt that He’s laying off from his salary, I have my own account and pay for my own stuff too. It works for us well and we both use the others accounts quite frenqently if we need too, if we ever get a mortgage we would have a joint account for that only but other than that nope 

Post # 28
Member
968 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

Not married yet but we have a joint checking/savings account, a joint credit card, and we also maintain our own checking/savings accounts & credit cards. We use the joint credit card for things that are for both of us (groceries, going out together, stuff for the house, wedding stuff), and pay it off each month. He pays more because he makes more. We use our joint bank account as more of a savings account for vacations and things like that.

Post # 29
Member
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

We share everything. Our only debt is debt we entered in together (mortgage and car). Some things are in one person’s name because that’s just how it works (IRAs, retirement, etc.), but we are each other’s beneficiary for those. Credit cards we just requested secondary cards so we each have a copy of each card. It honestly doesn’t matter, it’s all paid from the same place. 

This works for us and feels right. We are both reasonable with spending and have similar philosophies about money. I can’t imagine getting annoyed at my partner for a purchase he made. I also can’t imagine not running a larger purchase by him because it probably concerns him too. When he wanted to buy a treadmill, he just asked me what I would think about owning a treadmill – NBD. When I thought we should get a family car with 4WD before we had our first kid (we live in a snowy area), I explained my thinking to him and we got a new car. 

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