Pros and Cons of Merging Finances with Your Spouse

When my now husband and I first decided that we wanted to buy a home together (we were not yet married or engaged), we opened up a joint savings account so that we could actively save together. We both put a certain amount of money in every week and we watched it grow over time. While looking for houses, we got engaged, and after we finally moved into our home, we eventually joined all of our money together. This was a huge (and admittedly scary) step for us, and now that were are married, I am happy we did it this way. It just works well for us. Joining finances may not be for every person or every couple, but if your relationship is at the point where you are contemplating taking that leap, here are some pros and cons to consider when making the choice.

THE PROS

It helps you work toward common goals.

We’ve acted like a married couple since very early on in our relationship. We were always a team. Our relationship naturally progressed so that our goals, financial and not financial, always involved each other and our future together. We didn’t see a reason to have a bunch of separate accounts. It made sense to make a plan to achieve our goals and work together to make it all happen.

It’s a sign of partnership.

It feels really nice to know that all of your money is in one place working to pay for the things you both experience, want and need. Your debt becomes his or her debt, you tackle the grocery and electric bills 100% and not 50/50, the mortgage or rent is paid for by both parties, and there’s no need to decide who pays for dinner.

You live off one budget.

Your household budget is comprised of one combined income and a bunch of combined expenses rather than a budget for each of you with expenses that are split a certain way. This makes things especially simple as income and expenses change. Learn how to create a budget here.

You don’t have to make financial decisions alone.

Since all of your money is pooled together, you have someone else’s perspectives, ideas and insight on how to make things work. You are no longer solely responsible for your financial life, and you have a sidekick with whom you tackle life’s financial choices and obligations.

Things are just easier.

There’s no need to determine who will pay for what, which can often lead to keeping score, resentment, guilt and headaches. You don’t feel indebted to the other person if they pay for something and you don’t. Same accounts + same bills + same budget = wonderful convenience.

THE CONS

You can’t spend money like you’re single.

In your single days, you were probably used to spending money how you wanted, when you wanted. You never had to consider if it was OK with someone else or how it would impact your overall household budget. Sharing accounts can sometimes make you feel like you have to ask for permission to use your own money.

Merging can cause resentment, too.

Resentment can build when you join accounts if one person makes more money than the other, if one person has way more debt than the other, or if one person refuses to get on board with managing spending and sticking to a budget.

You may feel loss of control.

As humans, we have a sensitive emotional connection to our hard-earned money. It’s not easy to give up the control you have over it, and it can feel that way when you combine your money with someone else’s.

It can be hard to align misaligned spending habits and savings goals.

Just like divvying up expenses causes tension, so can trying to change someone’s spending and saving habits. One partner might be a spender, while the other values saving. When all of your money is combined, it can be hard to adjust to new ways of spending. If your financial goals also don’t align, it can make things even more difficult.

It makes it easy to “keep tabs” on the other person.

If you track expenses and frequently look at your account activity, you will see what the other person is spending. It may cause you to scrutinize his or her spending, and vice versa.

NO MATTER WHAT

It is so important to discuss finances way before you combine your money. Making the decision will be a lot easier after several conversations. This is how you can get a good idea of what will work and what won’t work based on each of your beliefs, future goals and money management habits.

At the end of the day, do what’s right for you and your partner. Some believe sharing accounts is a normal part of marriage. Others don’t see a reason to mingle money at all.  Some meet in the middle where shared expenses are paid out of a joint account, but everything else is separate. Compromise and communication is crucial in any part of your relationship, and money is no exception.

Hopefully these pros and cons help you figure out what’s most important to you and your partner.

Whatever you decide, check out the account options offered by Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. Whether you need a checking or savings account, home mortgage or credit card, we are here to help you make smart financial choices.

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One Response to “Pros and Cons of Merging Finances with Your Spouse

  • Jessica Gadilauskas
    2 months ago

    This was such a great read! It really got me thinking after reading it and prompted a great, open, honest conversation between my new husband and I. We’re changing a lot of habits based on what I read, and I’m really excited to see how these changes play out in the future. Thank you Money Mill!

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