How Getting Married Changed Our Finances

Wedding rings Follow Me on Pinterest Guess what happened while you guys weren’t paying attention? We got married!

So now that the secret is out, I figured I’d share how getting married has changed our finances. This is a blog about personal finance after all! We’ve known we were going to get married for a long time, so we had plenty of time to prepare for this change. We even started to make some of the smaller changes before we got married!

I should start out by stating that we’ve decided to combine our finances after we got married. We talked about it a lot and decided this was what was best for us. I personally don’t think having separate finances is a great way for a married couple to keep their money, but to each their own.

Our Finances Before Marriage

Before we were married we kept separate finances. This required separate bank accounts, separate budgets and all other aspects of our finances, including credit cards, were separate. While our money was physically separate, we didn’t operate completely separate from each other.

We were constantly talking about both of our situations and in a sense we were acting as a team as much as we could while our money was separate. We talked about our future plans and how we’d manage our money after we were married. I even saved some of my money on the side to help Tori pay her loans off after we got married.

The reason we kept our finances separate was because nothing in life is certain and, even though we were planning on getting married, things could potentially change. Granted, things can change after we get married as well, but we take marriage seriously and you can’t live your whole life in fear. We’re legally married now so we’re combining our finances.

The Beginning of Merging Finances

Marriage Follow Me on Pinterest In order to begin merging our finances, we opened a joint bank account a couple months before our wedding. We slowly began transferring our automatic payments, paychecks and other money transactions into this new bank account. We didn’t transfer any of our savings, but we did begin to live on one budget rather than two.

This meant our incomes and expenses slowly started combining just a couple months ahead of our wedding. However, that’s not the end goal. The end goal is…

Post Marriage Goal – Completely Merged Finances

Now that we’re married, we’ve begun the process of completely combining our finances. We’ve started transferring over all of our personal money we’ve saved to joint bank accounts. We’ll be working in the next couple months to begin combining the other aspects of our finances.

The first thing on the list is looking into making any possible benefit changes within the first 30 days of our new marriage. Our companies place this time limit on us. Of course, we can make changes during our annual open enrollment, but because we just got married we have the opportunity to change now so we might as well look into it.

We have a lot of other things to look into as well. We’ll have to begin combining our other non-bank accounts. We’ll be looking to update our beneficiaries on any policy or benefit that has a designated beneficiary. We’ll need to start looking into creating wills and other estate planning documents. We’ve got a lot to look into and begin combining!

Did you combine your finances when you got married? Or did you keep your finance separate? What are we missing? There is bound to be something we’ve overlooked.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Congrats! After we got married, we changed which credit cards Mr. PoP was using (he hadn’t been getting rewards), but we made sure we kept the other account open and with an eye on it because every once in a while there’d be an “auto-renew” that we’d have to go in and evaluate if we still wanted. (Mr PoP used to be big on buying subscriptions, not so much anymore luckily!)
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..He Said She Said: Habits Of Wealthy PeopleMy Profile

  2. Congratulations! Buying the house should have been a hint!
    krantcents recently posted..Some Things Get Better with Age!My Profile

  3. Congratulations on your marriage! Things will be so much less complicated (though perhaps not easier) with combined finances.
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..On Debt and Feeling Like a SlaveMy Profile

  4. This post is so timely! I’m getting married in a month and my fiancee and I have already started merging into my bank (USAA) as we’re not fans of Chase (his account).

    Congratulations on getting married! I strongly agree with being honest and talking about finances BEFORE people get married. My fiancee and I had been talking about this for months before we decided what to do. I’m a big believe in joint finances, so long as both spouses are honest and open and handle money well. Since we both came to this conclusion, the next steps were the hard part of merging everything. As my fiancee’s job doesn’t offer health benefits (he works in contract TV jobs), he is totally looking forward to having health insurance again.
    Tara recently posted..My Six Seasons and a MovieMy Profile

  5. I’m glad you chose to go this route of combining finances. I often hear of couples that “keep it separate” and I can’t help but to think this would have a damaging effect on the relationship.
    Chuck@Tortoise Banker recently posted..All Time Highs! Act Now to Protect Your Nest EggMy Profile

  6. Yayyyy!!! Congrats!!! I was wondering when you two would tie the knot!! We combined everything as well. The only separate thing we have is we each have a high yield Smarty Pig savings account since SP doesn’t let you do joint, but we have each other’s passwords etc. and who am I kidding, I manage most of it. ;) I hope this means we get to see some WEDDING PICS!! Oh yes you have to!!!
    Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) recently posted..Watch Huffington Post Live Tonight!My Profile

  7. Congrats! I don’t think I would merge finances in marriage but like you say, to each their own. If merged, I would look for ways to pay less taxes, I don’t know much about the US but imagine you have a joint IRA contribution now, and can opt for whomever’s company is best, if that is what you call benefit change, in France the year you get married you can still file separately or jointly, so I would look into the best way to do that too.

    • In the US, it makes more sense in 95% of cases to file jointly for your tax return. You can still have separate retirement accounts and we will contribute to our own retirement accounts and just name each other beneficiaries.

  8. Congratulations to both of you! Money is one of the common reasons why married couples fight sometimes so I think it’s a good idea for them to have both a join account and separate accounts.
    Marissa @ FinanceTriggers recently posted..Picking the free pool slidesMy Profile

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