Combining finances after marriage

Combining Finances: Considerations and Approaches 

By Scott Jensen, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®, AFFP® - Financial Planning Consultant

If you are one half of a couple, you know all about compromising. From setting the thermostat to choosing the next show to binge, you navigate life together.  Some decisions have more impact than others, like parenting styles, religion, and of course…money.

As you combine finances as a couple, it’s important to get on the same page with your partner about how you will set and reach your financial goals together.  

Things to consider when combining finances 

1. Talk about your current finances and discuss your financial goals

Money disputes between partners are all too common, and it usually boils down to two factors: partners have different priorities for how to use their financial resources, and lack of communication. Maybe one partner is a spender who wants to live in the moment, and the other is a saver who is focused on the future. When it comes to talking about money with your partner, think of the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Embrace discomfort and have candid and courageous conversations now before financial differences cause major issues in your relationship. 

Start by sharing your hopes and fears about the future, as well as the financial implications of each one. Then, focus on the big personal finance topics like budgeting, managing debt, saving for retirement, your children’s education needs, and protecting against the unexpected. Once you can agree on these big topics, move onto other lower-priority topics like everyday spending. Bonus tip: let’s use a sports analogy – when it comes to finances, you don’t have to play the same position, but you need to be on the same team and run the same play. You may not agree, but this dialog should end with a better grasp of each partner’s feelings and priorities. 

A Financial Advisor can help keep you focused on the same goals, mediate your differences and keep you on track. 

Try our methods for reaching your financial goals.

2. Create a family budget   

Once you and your partner have settled on the financial goals you are trying to achieve, develop a household budget for how you are going to reach them together. If you and your partner are combining finances, bills, and debts, who is paying what and how? As you build your family budget, talk with your partner about how much to put away on a regular basis for debt repayment, an emergency fund and large purchases such as a new car or home, and major life milestones such as having children and retirement. 

Need help building a budget? Try the 50-30-20 Budget Rule or our budget worksheet.

Create a debt repayment plan using our debt payoff worksheet

3. Protect what you have with proper insurance 

As a new couple, you may have brought some debt to the relationship, and you may incur new debt together such as a mortgage, car payments and credit card debt. Life insurance can ensure your loved ones can pay off your debt and continue their current lifestyle, even with the loss of your future income. Life insurance can also help your partner reach the financial goals you set together. Talk with a trusted insurance agent about how much coverage you need and what type is right for you. 

Combining finances as a couple is also a good time to check on your home insurance and auto insurance coverages. You may qualify for a discount if you have multiple policies with one carrier. 

The bottom line 

Whether your choose to combine finances or have separate bank accounts, it’s important to have common financial goals you can strive for together. 

Learn more about how a financial advisor can help you. 


Updated 2-9-23

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COUNTRY Financial® is a family of affiliated companies (collectively, COUNTRY) located in Bloomington, IL. Learn more about who we are.