Marriage and Merging Money

by Em on May 19, 2015 · 4 comments

marriage, couples, couples finances

Money is often an issue that tends to cause the most friction between a newlywed couple. In a world where the majority of people are concerned with their own personal well being, it is easy to forget that marriage is a mutual arrangement, not a solitary effort. Trust is a vital component in establishing a strong commitment in this shared life with your new spouse. A couple’s financial situation can be the source from which a newly forged partnership flourishes or the one thing that can sabotage a relationship.

As you begin your journey and build a future together, carefully consider the following do’s and dont’s of money management in marriage.


Set Boundaries

Establish an understanding that you and your spouse have made a commitment to each other and that the majority of monies should be shared. Create a household budget and manage the mutually held funds accordingly. All should be considered “ours, not mine.”

Create Bank Accounts

Create three separate bank accounts. One individual account for each spouse and a joint account where an agreed upon amount will be deposited monthly based on a percentage of earnings. The joint account will function as the expense account for the household from which all monthly bills are satisfied.

Pay Off Debt

There are very few investment decisions a couple can make that have a greater return than eliminating debt. Paying off credit cards or loans with exorbitant interest rates of say 15-20% or more is the economic equivalent of an investment with the same return. Incorporate debt payments into the monthly budget and always strive to pay more than the minimum payment. The balance of remaining money should be used for an emergency fund; even $20 a week compounds quickly and can help in the event of an unexpected surprise.


Overlook Retirement

Retirement years appear to be far off and are oftentimes overlooked in the financial planning process as you have more pressing issues to deal with after recently being married. However, it is imperative that you set aside a predefined amount each month for retirement, regardless of what you earn. Utilize your employer’s retirement savings plans especially if they offer a matching contribution as this is free money at no charge to you while providing significant tax benefits. According to the New York Times, odds are strongly against you in saving enough money to support your retirement.


According to Forbes, 31% of Americans polled attest to having lied to their spouse about money. Newlyweds can circumvent the frustration and stress that comes along with deception by formulating a set of rules and talking openly about finances. Create a budgeting plan and stick to it.

Take On Additional Debt

Living within your means is easier said than done, but it is important to not overspend and ensure your financial future. Budgeting to live slightly below your means is ideal, as you then have the ability to save something and get one step closer to financial freedom. Debt acquired prior to a marriage and how it is handled can become quite complicated. Nothing can substitute the time spent consulting with a professional such as an attorney or accountant to determine how this type of debt is managed in accordance with state laws and other regulations.

Final Thoughts

This list is by no means exhaustive but discussing these “do’s and dont’s” is an enormous stride in the right direction. As these discussions commence, additional concerns are sure to arise and keeping an open and honest discourse about money will pay off in numerous ways.

Author Bio – This article was written by Joshua Rodriguez, owner and founder of CNA Finance.



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathy May 19, 2015 at 9:05 am

Other than retirement accounts, every account we own are joint.. My husband and I have one account in which we separate the funds (on paper) into his, hers and ours, but the account itself is joint. This is the one where we put our spend on whatever we want money. Marriage is a commitment and a partnership and keeping things separate is an indicator of other issues

2 Brock @CleverDude May 19, 2015 at 10:35 am

DO – communicate frequently. If a couple is going to do their finances combined, then they need to talk about money – a lot. My wife and I talk money a couple of times a week….if we don’t, problems and overspending ensue.

3 Lisa May 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm

My dad constantly lied to my mom about money and I’m 100% positive that it was a huge reason as to why they aren’t together today. If spouse can’t be honest with you about money, what makes you think you can trust them with everything else?

4 Pam Kappelhof July 22, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Good list of Do’s and Don’t. I believe in the Yours, Mine, and Ours distribution of expenses, by percentage of earnings. It has worked well for my husband & I for 33 years. We never fight about money. We each have our own checking account and credit card, and how we choose to spend our “personal” money is never in question. The “Household” checking account & credit card is for all our shared monthly living expenses. We have another joint checking account to “Hold” funds aside for those expenses that come along less frequently (property taxes, insurance, home improvements, home/auto maintenance, and a vacation fund).

Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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