Merge Ahead

Tips for merging money with a partner

If you’ve recently been married or are moving in with a serious partner, it might be time to merge your finances. While it’s no easy task, there are some ways to make the process easier. Let’s review some ideas below.

  • Talk, Talk, Talk. The first thing you need to do when merging money is talk through everything. As USA Today reports, you need to get detailed and honest about your attitudes toward spending and saving, long term financial goals, the amount of debt you have and what you expect to pay for recurring expenses like rent, groceries and more. The longer this discussion takes the better. Be thorough so there are no surprises down the line.
  • Go Joint. One good idea when merging finances is to create a joint bank account for mutual expenses, like rent, cable and other utilities. Each paycheck, a specific amount is deposited into this joint account to take care of those costs. You can each also maintain a separate, personal account for things that only pertain to you, like entertainment or dining out with friends.
  • Be Ready. Merging finances is a big step down the road of a healthy relationship. As with any major life change, you should be prepared for some speed bumps and potholes along the way. Big purchases, for example, could be a recipe for a fight. Do you best to plan these things out together, ahead of time. Perhaps you’ve been invited to a wedding in the fall. Talk with your partner about the cost and potential ways to save on the gift (go in on a group gift, create something yourself, etc). Addressing and planning for major purchases can help you avoid problems. When money arguments do arise, be patient and honest with each other, knowing that small disagreements over money can be a natural part of your progression as a couple.
  • Chris O'Shea

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