First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes joining banking accounts?
If you’re going to walk down the aisle, you’re probably contemplating how to combine your finances with your soon-to-be spouse. While you may cringe at the thought of this, combining your accounts can have a lot of benefits, such as simplifying money management, streamlining bill-pay, creating financial transparency, and more.
Keep in mind, if you’re engaged but not married, you should wait to combine your accounts until you tie the knot. While you may love your partner, some engagements do not work out, which can cause a financial mess if you have already blended your finances. Therefore, it may be wise to wait until you say, “I do,” before you start merging your finances. So, if you’re ready to combine your accounts, here are a few steps to take.
1. OPEN JOINT CHECKING AND SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (OR ADD YOUR SPOUSE TO YOURS)
Your checking and savings accounts will help you pay your day-to-day expenses, contribute toward your financial goals, and plan for emergencies. Before you decide which bank or credit union you should open or convert your account with, make sure it has features you want or need. Additionally, it’s wise to open an account with a bank or credit union that has minimal fees, since fees can chip away at your savings.
2. CONTACT YOUR HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT TO UPDATE YOUR PAYCHECK DEPOSITS
If you’re moving all of your paychecks into your joint bank account, you will need to change the information your employer currently has on file.
3. MAKE TIME TO SET UP AND COMPLETE ALL MONEY TRANSFERS, BILL PAY, AND RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS
Now is the time to make sure that you set up bill pay from your new account, and that your automatic retirement contributions remain the same.
4. KEEP YOUR ACCOUNTS UNTIL YOUR NEW PROCESS IS ESTABLISHED AND WORKING WITHOUT A HITCH
You may want to keep your old accounts until you see your money going where it needs to go. Once your new money management process is in full swing, you can consider closing your old accounts. Keep in mind that this may take some adjusting, so be patient and watch your new accounts to make sure you set everything up correctly.
While combining accounts can bring you and your partner closer financially and create a sense of teamwork, there are some instances when you may want to keep your accounts separate or keep a savings or checking account to yourself. For example, if you want to keep a small savings account that you call pull from for gifts for your spouse, it might be a good idea to keep a separate account. Every couple has a unique financial situation that requires a different type of account management. But, even if you choose to keep one or all of your accounts separate, you must remain financially transparent with your spouse.
Remember, blending your accounts is a process, and it may require some adjustments. Therefore, be patient with your partner and discuss the best ways to manage your money as a married couple. The more you communicate and are transparent about your finances, the easier it will be to work together as a team to achieve your financial goals.