Marriage and the Money Merge


Getting married? When you're planning your wedding, don't forget to plan how you will combine your post-nuptial finances. Traditionally, the husband "brings home the bacon" and the wife stays home to take care of the house and the kids. This model still exists, but times have changed. More women have careers now than ever, and the average age of first marriage is 29 for women and 31 for men, according to By then, both men and women have financial habits, good and bad, which have led to more creative ways of merging funds.

To Combine or Not to Combine?
There are many schools of thought when it comes to combining funds after marriage. Combining everything is still popular, but more and more couples are keeping accounts separate. There is a long-held belief that couples who do this don't trust each other or aren't willing to work together on common goals. That being said, there are practical reasons couples choose to keep their money separate. 

Keeping Things Separate
When Drew and Christy got engaged, they had each been on their own long enough to develop their own individual saving and spending habits. Drew was more of a saver. In fact, when he was 25 he bought his first house. Christy, however, was more of a spender and even had some credit card debt at one point. They knew these things about each other, so to avoid arguments over money; they decided to keep their accounts separate after they got married. They did, however, add each other's names to their separate checking and savings accounts, and gave each other access to those accounts.

Christy wanted to help with the bills, but she didn't make as much money as Drew, so they came up with a way to split the bills according to their income. Drew kept the mortgage payment and Christy took over utilities. They split other household expenses fairly evenly. They have been married for 10 years now, and the system has worked out great. Christy has become more of a saver than she ever was, and was even able to contribute a sizeable amount when they built a new house. 

A Compromise
Drew and Christy's system works great for them, but other couples use more of a "Yours, Mine, Ours" system. They keep the separate checking accounts they had before getting married, but each contributes to a joint account for bills. They may even have a joint savings account for future goals.

No matter how you choose to handle finances after marriage, the key to making your method work is to communicate openly about it, trust each other, be honest with each other and agree on a system.

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