Merging the Finances

The Wrong Approach: United we stand, divided we bank.

Right Approach: It’s yours, mine and ours.

One of the first issues newlyweds face is how to handle their finances. Should you merge everything you have and earn into one joint account, or should you maintain individual accounts and open a joint one for household expenses?

For many newlyweds, the right choice may be somewhere in the middle. Assuming you both have a clean bill of fiscal health, finding a way to blend finances comfortably without feeling like big brother is watching every financial move you make can dramatically cut down on fights. Over time – once kids and mortgages come into play – many couples find that merging all their finances is simply easier. But unless you’re both comfortable with the idea, there’s no need to rush things.

Dealing with Debt

The Wrong Approach: Your debt will ruin us; you must find a way to pay it off.

The Right Approach: It’s our debt; Let’s decide how to pay it off together.

Like it or not, once you’re married, your spouse’s debts can become your problem. Granted, you’re not legally responsible for the creditcard balances ran up before you got married, or for any loans opened in your spouse’s name alone – provided you keep your finances completely separate. But even with separate finances, your spouse’s credit score will affect your ability to get joint credit.


For those couples not yet married, it may be worthwhile to think about a prenup, just to make sure that assets that one spouse brings into a marriage will always be protected from the other spouse’s creditors. But those who’ve already tied the knot should find a way to pay down the debts as quickly as possible, and without any late payments.