How To Start Integrating Your Finances

by James on September 10, 2013 · 4 comments

Since the goal of Dual Income No Kids is to discuss finance within relationships, Today’s posting contains some thoughts on getting started merging your finances. Anyone who is married or in a long term relationship will say you’ll need to begin integrating your finances with your significant other at some point.

David Bach has come good tips* on how to start this process:

1) Get Organized: The best thing to do is sit down and start going over your files. Throw out old ones and set up new ones. Just the act of getting organized can spur your significant other to get motivated as well.

2) Be Diplomatic: Motivating your partner can be tricky. According to David Bach, the thing to do is emphasize the importance of working on your joint goals. Whats also key about this is being diplomatic. In other words, you should avoiding blaming or condemning your partner for current difficulties.

3) Achieve Small Successes: Bach says that achieving small successes are important for getting started. Minor successes like meeting to discuss joint goals or to organize your finances can help build positive momentum. For my part, it gives me a lot of confidence that my wife Miel and I have been able to achieve small success, even when our relationship hasn’t been the most harmonious.

Good luck merging your finances!

Best,

James

*From Smart Couples Finish Rich, by David Bach, pages 68-69.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kathy September 10, 2013 at 7:36 am

My husband and I suggest this to everyone but no one does this. Besides having automatic savings deductions for specific goals, we also have budgeted a monthly allowance to each other of “free” fun or whatever money. We each get this allowance that we can spend in any manner we like for whatever we like. It works very well for us. We also have monthly financial meetings. Currently I pay the bills, etc. but my husband also uses a clipboard on the wall to keep track of our spending. (He’s not into computers.) Our income goes on the clipboard and every time we buy or pay for something he takes the receipt and subtracts it on the clipboard. He also subtracts the amount we automatically save each month and our allowances from the clipboard. It’s a nice visual way to watch your money. One thing nice about the allowance is that you don’t have to keep track of that money as it’s been already accounted for as “allowance”.

2 Enoughwealth September 10, 2013 at 9:02 am

Bit too absolute with your “Anyone who is married or in a long term relationship will say you’ll need to begin integrating your finances with your significant other at some point.” — I’ve been married almost 15 years and we’ve never started integrating our finances. We bought our house and an investment property as joint owners, and each kick in half the payments on those items, but aside from that we’ve kept our individual banks accounts, investments etc. and manage our incomes individually. This is probably a result of us both being in our late 30s when we met and got married, so we already considerable experience managing our own finances and had built up savings and investments over many years. I suspect the urge to integrate finances is a lot stronger/more necessary for young couples that get married with almost no individual new worths (or possible one or both in debt).

3 James September 12, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Enoughwealth – perhaps you are right, but the stats I’ve read say that only something like 12% of couples keep totally separate finances. Most (something like 60%) get their money integrated in some fashion. In any event, even if you do keep your money separately, aren’t you still negotiation around the same big money issues – e.g whether to buy a house or not.

4 James September 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Kathy – bravo. At least you guys are working on the issues. Some people do no planning or budgeting at all.

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