Is There Ever a Reason to Not Combine Finances Once You Are Married?
Once you get married, it is better to fully combine for your finances and plan for the future. This allows you to plan for retirement, save for a home and work on your goals together. This means that you combine your debt, as well as your savings together. Some people have a difficult time making this step. If you are married or about to get married, one of you may be reluctant to combine finances. It is important to consider the reasons why so you can address them and deal with the situation. Money can be a big issue in a relationship, and you do not want it to ruin yours.
First, you need to start by combining some of your money into a household budget. This is a good start, and although it is really combining, it will allow you to share expenses in way that is fair to both of you. You will each contribute the same percentage of your income to the household budget. This money should cover things like rent, utilities, and food that you share. If you have children, it should cover all expenses related to them. Then you will need to consider each of the following reasons that might be holding you back from combining your finances.
One Spouse Is a Saver and the Other a Spender
It can be really difficult to combine finances when one of you is a natural saver and the other one likes to spend, spend, spend. There may be trust issues underlying this issue. The saver may not want to combine, because she wants to protect her savings, while the spender does not want to be held accountable for all his spending. A household budget can help you build up the trust. However, it is important to approach this carefully. The saver may come across as being bossy and taking control of the budget without letting the spender have any say.
It is important to have money that you can each spend during the month. The key is to make sure you can afford the amount that you choose.
Credit or Debt Issues
Another issue is if one person enters the marriage with a significant amount more in debt than the other. A similar problem is that one person may have trashed his credit with unpaid bills or other mistakes. It can be scary to take on all of the debt or to work with someone who has a poor credit score, especially if you are working on buying a home. When you get married, you do combine everything. Although you should not consolidate separate student loans into one, since that debt can be forgiven if you pass away.
Take a step back and decide whether or not you love this person enough to be with them even with the debt. If the answer is yes, then get married and start working on paying it off. Good communication is key to making it work. If the answer is no, you may not be ready to get married, and it is best to realize it now before you do. The debt will still be there and affect your life even if you do not combine finances.
This is a tricky issue. However, if there are addiction issues in your relationship, you may be better off dividing your finances if your are already married, or keeping them separate as your spouse works through these issues. You do not want your retirement or savings drained because of a gambling or a drug addiction. A shopping addiction can have a similar affect. Regardless of the addiction, you will need to seek marriage counseling as you work on putting all aspects of your relationship together.
Often addiction leads to financial infidelity and other issues. It is important to protect yourself as you work through these issues. A similar issue is when your spouse steals your identity and opens a loan in your name without your knowledge.
Everyone comes into each relationship with a certain amount of baggage. Some people may have more than others. Your spouse could be divorced from someone who did a number on them with their credit and spending and it can make it difficult for him to trust you in your new relationship. It may be a result of seeing his parents fight constantly about money. Regardless of the issue, this is another case where marriage counseling can really help you get to the point where you can successfully combine finances.
While you are working through the issues, you can set up a household budget to begin to build up trust.